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Monday, May 29, 2006

Book: Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them

This is a great book for lost knowledge that can still be useful today. I love to try and re-use materials around my house and yard when they no longer provide their original purpose. There is information on gardening, tying knots, supporting fence posts and removing them, building walls and more. Just because information is old doesn't mean it isn't still useful.

Link: Handy Farm Devices

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why aren't you recording everything?

Along with the podcast rant I posted earlier this week, I find myself asking more and more people, "Why aren't you recording everything?"

Now, I don't really mean "everything", but day after day I meet people who let their monthly panel discussions, guest speakers, in-house classes and more go unrecorded and unremembered.

With podcasting, there is no reason why your information, your content, needs to remain like a stage play, ephemeral, and seen or heard only once and then gone. This content should be placed on your web site so that it can be located, downloaded and enjoyed by people who want the information. It should be delivered as a podcast so people can subscribe to your feed and bring your message directly into their computers and iPods whenever you have something to say.

We need to break away from the old-fashioned thought that web pages are only for text and pictures. Every non-profit group, every user group, every educational group, every business can benefit from podcasting. These groups generate hours and hours of content every single week that could be used to attract interested people to their web site, their group and their mission.

Recently I was part of a technology conference here in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that this was a high-tech conference and my particular panel was on podcasting, no one had arranged to record the session so it could be released as a podcast. Everyone should have wanted the session recorded. The conference could use the recording as a year-round promotion for next year's show, the panel members could have used the recording as additional material for their shows and the people who couldn't attend the conference due to travel or money issues could have enjoyed a time-delayed hearing of the panel discussion. Everybody wins!

Luckily, at the last minute, I decided to set up my video camera as an audio recorder and captured the session on tape. A day later I had an edited version ready for inclusion in my own podcasts and any others who might want it.

Why, even at a high-tech conference, weren't plans made to capture all this great content and get it out to the people who want and need it? I don't know. We aren't lazy people. We might be a little too busy sometimes, but the benefits to be gained from recording and releasing this content as a podcast are unbelievable. We HAVE to capture it and release or we are wasting our efforts.

With a little initial effort our content, usually lost to the winds, can be out there, on their own, without any further effort on your part, spreading your message to hundreds or perhaps thousands of people.

So, why aren't you recording everything?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Event: Geek Dinner LA

Another Geek Dinner LA is on the schedule. Come by and join your fellow geeks in their revels.

Here is the skinny from Heathervescent, Your Host

Greetings Geeks!

Are you ready for more? Well, it’s time for another Geek dinner.

Save the date: Tuesday June 13th at 8pm for the next meeting.

What to expect:

This is an open forum to continue discussions from BarCamp. We’re here to share ideas and meet like minded geeks in Los Angeles. There will be a speaker for 10-15 minutes to demo a new product or share interesting technology. If you have a topic request or something to share, please let me know.

Please pass this invite on to anyone you think would be interested or join the google group

You can RSVP to me or on the GeekDinner Page

Detailed information coming soon. As always, ping me with questions.

Cheers, Heather

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why aren't you podcasting?

Maybe I have been drinking the podcaster kool-aid for too long, but I am developing a great distaste for everything "old media." While I am disappointed in the quality of most mainstream entertainment these days, I am even more sorry for those who continue to try and break into dying mediums like network television and radio.

Everyday, I see writers, directors, actors, musicians and others struggling so hard to please unappreciative gatekeepers...agents, producers, network executives...while appreciative audiences are begging for entertaining and informative content. These artists are so entrenched in the old world methods of being an artists they can't break away from the out-dated concept of the big show...the big score. They just can't see it. So instead of reaching out to audiences in the hundreds, thousands or more, they squander their talents trying to please some arrogant producer that cares nothing about their project and even less about them.

Already people all over the world are showing each other the way to a new model for mass communication. Yet, so many of those who could make the best use of this new model simply ignore it in search of the network sitcom, the one-man show or a recording contract. They spend so much time trying to convince others of the value of the art that, at the end of their days, they will have dreamed big and produced nothing but rejection, disappointment and anger. Why not dream a little smaller and produce something that you love...something that just might outlive you.

Why aren't you producing something today? Why are you spending all your time trying to please the gatekeepers? All you have to do is reach out and the audience will be there, waiting for you. You don't need anyone's permission to make your own show, your own art, your own life.

So, why aren't you podcasting?

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Education: Podcast Panel from MacGathering, including Douglas and other LA Podcasters

For those of you who might be thinking of starting your own podcast, here is some great information.

Several LA Podcasters members participated in the Birds of a Feather Podcasters Discussion at MacGathering: The Macintosh Computer Expo for Southern California

A Podcasting Discussion, complete with a panel top Southern California Podcasters to answer your questions or discuss various podcasting issues.

Moderator: Shelly Brisbin


Listen to this podcast

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Elsewhere Online: How to do (and make) magic tricks

My son, Joe, really likes magic tricks, so this site is sure to get a lot of attention around here. Joe already has a few magic tricks in his repetoire, but it is always good to find new explanations and descriptions to help him improve.

How to do (and make) magic tricks

Vurdlak from the Optical Illusion blog started another fun site to check out, Might Magic Tricks. The site has (and will have) a lot of tricks you can learn and make. - Link.

[Read this article]

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Event: Los Encinos Living History Day - May 21

March 21, 2006

Los Encinos Living History Day

1-3 PM. Music, blacksmith, children's activities from 1870s Southern California. Los Encinos State Historic Park.

Link: Google Maps for Los Encinos
Related: Previous mentions of Los Encinos
Book: The San Fernando Valley by Kevin Roderick

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Event: JPL Open House: An Invitation to Explore New Worlds - May 20-21

I highly recommend visiting this open house, if you can. It has great activities for the kids and more science fun than you can possibly imagine. -- Douglas

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., invites the public to "Explore New Worlds" without leaving Southern California. The laboratory will open its doors during its annual Open House on Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors are invited to go behind the scenes to learn about exciting missions to study the solar system, the universe and our home planet. JPL scientists and engineers will be on hand to answer questions about the mysteries revealed by JPL's space missions.

Guests will have the opportunity to see new robots and learn how they will move and work in space. In JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility, visitors can view the clean room where spacecraft and instruments are built before leaving Earth.

Visitors will see exhibits, presentations, spacecraft models and movies highlighting the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and JPL's recent comet missions, Stardust and Deep Impact. 
JPL Open House will offer a host of educational events to teach kids about science and engineering. Kids will also view the sun with high-powered telescopes and get rolled over by a Mars rover.  

Admission is free and reservations are not required. No backpacks or ice chests are allowed, with the exception of small purses and diaper bags. Visitors, vehicles and personal belongings are subject to inspection. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, along with space souvenirs and JPL and NASA merchandise.

JPL is located at 4800 Oak Grove Drive. Exit the 210 (Foothill) Freeway at the Berkshire Avenue/Oak Grove Drive exit in La Canada-Flintridge. Parking is available near the Oak Grove Drive main gate and on the eastern boundary of JPL, accessible from Windsor Avenue via the Arroyo Boulevard exit off the 210 Freeway. Buses and tour guides will move people between different locations around the facility. Walking is required to some locations. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

More information is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pso/oh.cfm or by calling (818) 354-0112. Directions are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/about_JPL/directions.cfm

Related: Previous mentions of JPL on WelchWrite.com

Link: Books about JPL and their programs

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Elsewhere Online: 10 Ways to Add Variety to Your Digital Photography

I am always looking for ways to improve my photography skills and here are a bunch all in one place. Digital Photography School.com offers these 10 hints and many more. Check them out!

10 Ways to Add Variety to Your Digital Photography

Yesterday I wrote about how taking lots of shots can be one way to increase your chances of getting good results from your digital photography. However you don’t want to just end up with multiple shots of the same thing so here’s 10 techniques for adding diversity to your digital photography:

1. Shoot your subject at [...]

(Via Digital Photography School.)

Related: Photography on WelchWrite.com

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At AltBuild 2006: Mary Beth Trautwein of reDiscover

This is the second of a series of videos I shot May 4, 2006 at AltBuild Expo 2006, the alternative building materials and design expo. More videos will be forthcoming in the next few days.

In this video, I talk with Mary Beth Trautwein of reDiscover who tells how her group uses industrial leftovers to help kids learn more about art and their environment.
Watch this video

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Event: JPL Lecture: Planetary Robotics: to Mars and Beyond - May 11

Planetary Robotics: to Mars and Beyond

Presented by Dr. Ashley Stroupe JPL Staff Engineer, Mars Exploration Rovers Engineering Team & Brett Kennedy JPL Staff Engineer, JPL Robotic Hardware Group

Click here on Thursday at 7 p.m. PDT for the webcast. 

Thursday, May 11
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA

Friday, May 12
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
1570 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA

Both lectures begin at 7 p.m. PDT and run for approximately an hour.

Admission is free. Seating is limited.
For more information, call (818) 354-0112.

The robotics engineers at JPL are currently developing new robotics technologies to provide scientists and astronauts access to new kinds of planetary terrain. This talk will present the current state of the art in planetary robotics and discuss where we are going in the future. We'll present videos and demos from the Mars Exploration Rovers, as well as our current research, including traditional rovers, autonomous walking robots for orbital operations, and large-scale transport vehicles that can be autonomous or piloted.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

At AltBuild 2006: Mark Bagnall of Solar Electrical Vehicles

This is the first of a series of videos I shot today at AltBuild Expo 2006, the alternative building materials and design expo. More videos will be forthcoming in the next few days.

In this video, I talk with Mark Bagnall, General Manager of Solar Electrical Vehicles who tells about a modification for the Toyota Prius Hybrid that adds solar cells to the roof, a true EV mode and 6-10 extra solar-powered miles per day to your driving.

Watch this video

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Book: The Blue Rose: An English Garden Mystery

I am in the middle of this book, part of a series of "English Garden Mysteries", but I wanted to tell you about it, even before I reach the end.

A great combination of gardening and mystery, The Blue Rose, tells the story of a couple who, upon purchasing and refurbishing an old parsonage garden, come across a once in a lifetime discovery...a blue rose.

I am in Chapter 9 and things are beginning to heat up as word about the rose leaks out. People and companies across the globe want to have this rose, some more unscrupulous than others.

Perfect reading while you sip lemonade in your favorite garden chair.

Eglin just released the second book in the series, The Lost Gardens

Link: Previous mentions of Gardening Books

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