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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dark Day - PaD 1/30/07

Dark Day - PaD 1/30/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
It has been a dark, cloudy and rainy day today. We didn't get any heavy rain her at the house, unfortunately, although it fell pretty hard nearby. We could have really used a good trenching.

I took this shot as I was waiting to pick up my son from his afterschool art class. Figured I might as well get a little art time, too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Harp Trio - PaD 1/29/07

Harp Trio - PaD 1/29/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
I have been practicing for our school talent show, so the harps have been out of their cases more than usual lately. At least I made a point of wiping off all the fingerprints before I took this shot. (SMILE)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gardening Togs - PaD 1/27/07

Douglas in his morning gardening togs
Gardening Togs - PaD 1/27/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Out in the garden this morning, trying to get some tasks done before the rains arrive. Hopefully, we will get some actual rain and not the sprinkles we have received in the past. We could really use it.

Almost finished the rose pruning. I have one more bed of about 5 roses along the north property line, but there is a huge Armenian wedding celebration taking place at our neighbors and I figured they didn't need to see me in my grubby morning gardening clothes. (SMILE)

Sounds of the djembe and oud echo from the front to the back of the house as guests are welcomed and the groom departs. I always enjoy the "United Nations" feel of our neighborhood and it is always wonderful to see and hear happy people. Too often in today's world all we ever see is doom, gloom and tragedy.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Freezing? - PaD 1/26/07

Frost damage on Bouganvilea
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Whos says it never gets cold in Southern California?

We are still finding damage from the 2-3 nights of below freezing temperatures we had last week. I spotted this Bouganvilea on a walk to our local coffee shop this afternoon.

Even though Los Angeles stays pretty warm, we are NOT a tropical like the home of plants like this. A quick freeze can totally decimate them. Some will recover, but others may not, depending on the extent of the damage.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Homework - PaD 1/25/07

Homework - PaD 1/25/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Joseph works through his 3rd Grade homework.

Event: Chinatown Walking Tour - Jan 27

Gold Line Chinatown Station Los Angeles

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: January 27, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 411 Bernard Street , Los Angeles , 90012

Cross Streets: Broadway / Bernard - Metro Gold Line Stop: Chinatown

Phone: (213) 229-8890

Admission: Free

Accessibility: Wheel Chair Access

Website: www.socalstudio.org

Description: Led by Eugene Moy this Walking Tour explores the different generations and re-generations of communities comprising this vibrant neighborhood. Eugene Moy will call attention to the role of different women in building this place, as a part of the Studio’s current exhibit Los Angeles Women: A Record of Experience. This event is free but reservations are suggested by e-mailing rsvp@socalstudio.org or calling 213-229-8890.

Eugene Moy is the Vice President of Programs for the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.

(Via ExperienceLA.com)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Blink, Blink" - PaD 1/24/07

"Blink, Blink" - PaD 1/24/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Yes, I know, I know, I have messages on my machine.

Only 3, though...and I have actually listened to all of them. I am just keeping them for future reference....really. (SMILE)

Another late night "save" for my photo-a-day project. Some days, nothing seems to strike me while I am out and about. Too many other distractions, I guess.

Red Flag Days in Los Angeles

While we are not under "red flag" warnings right now in Los Angeles, current weather patterns point to more in the coming days.

Recently, Red Flag Parking restrictions were instituted in all hill and mountain sections of LA County City. (See comments below - D) It seems to be taking a while for everyone to become familiar with these new restrictions and fire equipment still having difficulty reaching some locations. (See Metroblogging LA's forecast: More Red Flag Days coming!)

On a side note, I realized I needed to be aware of Red Flag alerts, even though I don't live in the hills, as I have many clients who do. I am usually required to park on the street at these homes and during a Red Flag Alert, I would not be able to do so. You might run into similar problems when visiting friends and family who live in the hills.

There are many resources you can call upon to stay aware or Red Flag warning and their status:

LAFD's Red Flag info site with web, email and RSS notifications
National Weather Service
Dial 311 for the LA Citywide Services Directory
Local newspapers, television and radio outlets

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Web: Fora.tv: The world is thinking

fora.tv screen shotWow, another great television replacement, courtesy of the Internet. One of the first videos I watched was Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome, one of my favorite books, from a reading he did at Cody's Books. While I prefer to consume my audio and video in podcast form, so I don't have to be sitting at my computer to watch it, this is good second choice and offers up yet another great source for excellent and entertaining material.

Add a series of RSS feeds so I could download videos with specific authors, keywords or venues and it would be almost perfect.

The world is thinking

Fora Tv is a good place to watch videos of lectures and discussions on topics ranging from politics and science to religion and the arts. Whether you'd like to see Jim Lehrer talk about politics and prose, or watch Brian Eno and Will Wright discuss the joys and techniques of generative creation, you might find something here to like

(Via MetaFilter.)

Books by Ross King

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Douglas restarts Internet Seminars at LAPL Sherman Oaks

Photo of Douglas E. Welch

I'm Back!

Douglas E. Welch is again presenting his Internet Seminars right here at the Sherman Oaks Branch of the LA Public Library.

Get the most out of the Internet!

This series of seminars will focus on the amazing Internet services available today, on both your home computer and those at the library. On today's Internet you can get full-featured email programs, word processing, graphics, instant messaging, maps and much more. Join Douglas as he demonstrates the best the Internet has to offer and answers your Internet-related questions.

2nd & 4th Thursday of each month
6:30 PM

February 8 & 22 — March 8 & 22 — April 12 & 26 — May 10 & 24

Email library@welchwrite.com for more information or visit http://welchwrite.com/dewelch/library/

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Afternoon Coffee - PaD 1/23/07

Afternoon Coffee - PaD 1/23/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.

Today's photo was shot with my cameraphone as I sat writing and having coffee while waiting to pick up Joe from his after=school art class.

I think the cameraphone gives this picture a wonderful impressionistic effect. it almost looks like a watercolor to me. I am not sure, but I think my "real" digital camera might have rendered the scene too realistically, so I feel lucky I got this shot, even as low-res as it is.

Sampler from TechnologyIQ Blog

Installing Firefox on a Mac

While installing applications on a Mac is usually easy, Mozilla's installer for Firefox can be a bit confusing. Several of my clients had have difficulties getting it installed correctly, so here is a screencast to give you a, hopefully, clearer view of how it works.

Receive each new episode of TechnologyIQ automatically!

Subscribe or Apple iTunes Subscription Button

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Palm Trees Sketch from May 2006

I found this sketch hiding in an older sketchpad of mine. If I remember correctly, these were some palm trees at the Little League field where my son plays. As you can imagine, baseball games among a group of 6-8 year-olds isn't exactly the most exciting event on the planet, so I often find myself writing or sketching during the games.

Palm Tree Sketch
Click for larger image

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Douglas talks consulting on the SoHo Technology Podcast

SoHo Technology Podcast logoDean Jensen, of the SoHo Technology Podcast had me on for a series of talks on computer consulting and the first segment appeared today.

More segments will be forthcoming over the next few weeks.

Link: SoHo Technology Podcast with Dean Jensen

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Electric Guitar - PaD 1/21/07

Electric Guitar - PaD 1/21/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
I have had my electric guitar out the past few days, practicing for our annual parent's talent show at my son's school.

This is a "parent's only" event to give us all a chance to hang out and have some fun as adults.

This year I am doing Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" and a Blue's Brother number with another Dad.

Wish me luck!

Video: just imagine (sand art)

An amazing video showing the work of a "sand artist" who draws in real-time. Very pretty and an excellent respite from a busy day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tabletop Panorama 01 - PaD 1/20/07

A domestic tableau in panorama. The random scattered items on our table caught my eye this evening and I had thought of producing a panorama in miniature.

Instead of dramatic mountains, waterfalls or clouds, this panorama focuses on the usual, the normal and the close.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cool Tool: Geni.com - Online Family Tree Maker

If you are not already into heavy-duty family genealogy with dedicated programs GEDCOM files and an account on Ancestry.com, you might find Geni a quick way to start documenting your family tree.

It is simple and easy-to-use and includes an easy way to bring other family members into the discussion via email. I know from my own research that documenting everyone in the family usually falls to one interested party, so a little collaboration would be helpful.

Geni is a bit limited, as you can't yet import or export the GEDCOM files mentioned above. These are a standard data format used by almost all serious genealogy folks. Still, it is fun to play with and could become yet another great online service to replace the traditional PC-based applications we are all used to using today.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hobby Horse - PaD 1/17/07

Hobby Horse - PaD 1/17/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Closeup of a wooden hobby horse that my Uncle Jim made for my son, Joe when he was born back in 1998. I love the rag mop used as a mane

Chord Hat for Musical Play-alongs

I think I need to make one of these for our next music party. then everyone can play along without someone shouting out chords or trying to read my poor guitar chord fingerings. (SMILE)

LA DWP preps Van Nuys customers for "The Big One"

(Update 2:50 pm : Well, I guess the fix didn't take. As I returned from lunch and some errands water was, once again, bubbling up from under the asphalt patch where the DWP had been working earlier this morning. I called to report it again. As of this moment, the water is off in the neighborhood again, after being restored about 11 am. They seem to be having a tough time with this particular break. -- Douglas)

It seems that the LA DWP has a new program in place to reinforce earthquake safety preparations here in Van Nuys. This week we have suffered a 2-hour power outage and, starting last night, a failure of a water main, which is still being repaired. The power outage led us to test and re-supply all of our battery-powered equipment, including televisions, radios and flashlights and today's water outage allowed us to test the quality and quantity of our earthquake water supply, while also rotating out some of our older stock.

While the end result might be beneficial, the outages are still a pain. I will say, though, that even as a computer and electronics addict, I can do without electricity more than I can do without running water. Even without electricity I can still cook and entertain myself in a variety of ways, but making do without water, except for drinking, is just...how can I put this...gross. I don't think I need to say anything else on this topic. You all know what I mean.

As an aside to the actual water main break, which currently has our street blocked and about 30 homes without water, there was our conversation late last night with the LA DWP assistance line. Around 11:30pm, I was getting ready for bed. I am quite sensitive to noises in the house, especially when they are new and repetitive. As I am lying in bed, I here this constant rumbling noise coming from the small crawl space beneath our 1943-era house. "Oh oh," I thought. "Water is running somewhere." I am very attuned to running water now, as a few years ago we had a pinhole leak in an outside faucet that went unnoticed for 3 days and nearly undermined the alley on the north side of our house. This time, I was not going to let this go until I figured out what it was.

After inspecting every faucet and tap, inside and out, the noise appeared to be coming from the main water line into the house. Shutting off the water made the sound go away. Time to call the DWP.

The nice gentleman at the DWP quickly informed me that those symptoms pointed to problems with our interior piping. Question closed. Being a computer troubleshooter by trade, this didn't make a lot of sense for me. I had checked everything on our end and found no leaks or even the signs of a leak. Grumbling, I made one last circuit of the house, even walking out to the curb to inspect the water meter box buried beneath our street parking area. Nothing.

Then, I look up the street to the south. In a very fortuitous accident, I notice a car driving towards me. What is more important, though, is that the car's headlights are reflecting off the road...as if it were wet. I walk up about ten houses and quickly locate the source of my noises. In the front yard of one of my neighbors, water is shooting out of the ground about 2 feet high. Ok, now I could go to sleep, knowing where the problem lay.

Still, I was a bit angry. The LA DWP "support" line -- it is very similar to computer technical support lines I deal with every day -- had failed me, as a customer. In an all too familiar way, their staffer told me that the problem was my fault and my concern. It was a typical "non-answer the questions and get the person off the phone" moment. As someone who provides support on a daily basis, such behavior is galling. There was no attempt to check for other calls in the area or other service issues in the neighborhood. There was no attempt to go beyond or elicit more information. Nothing. The basic response could be summed up as "It's not our problem!" Yet, in fact, it was their problem. How many thousands of gallons of water went down the street and down the drain before someone else called to verify my story?

When I woke up around 5:30am, I noticed that the problem was till occurring -- meaning that they had not yet turned off the water to the leak and water continued to flow. It was only when I later got out of bed that we discovered that water to the entire neighborhood had been turned off and a large crew, with all their equipment, was working up the street.

Sometimes, support people, myself included, will begin to treat every caller as a crank. "Oh, they can't possibly know what is going on. They must be confused." Well, as this event shows, not every caller is crazy, ignorant or stupid and support personnel should not treat them as such. If they do, it could mean thousands of dollars in damage or lost product.

Current DWP estimates say that we should have water back by around 2 pm this afternoon. Thank goodness I work from home or my clients would have to be dealing with a very stinky and grumpy person this morning.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sampler: TechnologyIQ LIVE - MacWorld and CES: A World of Technology Joy!

Here is a re-post of our latest TechnologyIQ LIVE show. You can read the blog and subscribe to the show directly by visiting http://welchwrite.com/techiq/ . -- Douglas

Ep.005 - MacWorld and CES: A World of Technology Joy! - January 16, 2007

Douglas E. Welch and Sam Anderson review some of the neat stuff to come out of Apple's annual MacWorld conference and CES 2007, the Consumer Electronics Show.

Receive each new episode of TechnologyIQ automatically!

Subscribe or Apple iTunes Subscription Button

For links mentioned in this show, visit TechIQ tag at Del.icio.us

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Toolboxes - PaD 1/16/07

Toolboxes - PaD 1/16/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Here are a couple of toolboxes that I made with my son and my father a couple of years ago. I use them to carry my gardening tools to various parts of the yard. They have held up very well, but I am careful to not leave them out in the rain or sun.

The plans for these came from a book, but the title escapes me. It was something about easy woodworking projects for children, but my searching has not yet turned it up. These photos might be enough to let you build your own replica, though, as the projects is very straightforward

Project: Demonstrate Magnetohydrodynamic Propulsion in a Minute

Another neat project to do with the kids. It could even turn into a science fair project as they get older.

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories - MHD I: Demonstrate Magnetohydrodynamic Propulsion in a Minute

Rember the silent caterpillar drive from the movie The Hunt for Red October? The caterpillar drive was a fictional magnetohydrodynamic propulsion system. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) propulsion is a means of using electrical current, instead of a noisy propeller, to push a ship through the water.

Surprisingly enough, a working example of this futuristic drive system is quite easy to build. Assuming that you've got the materials handy, you can build one in about a minute. You'll need a strong magnet, two pieces of thick copper wire, a little dish of warm water, salt and pepper, and a regular battery.

(Via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories .)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Pizzelle Making

Pizzelle Making
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Another shot of the pizzelle -making process.

Pizzelles - PaD 1/15/07

PIzzelles - PaD 1/15/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Today, we used the MLK holiday as an excuse for an "at home" day.

All of us are dealing with nasty colds, although Joe is almost over it. Rosanne and I were moping around all day, completing one task, resting for a while, doing a little more and so on.

We took some time this morning to make Pizzelles, a traditional Italian waffle cookie, similar to the waffle cones you see at the ice cream store. This is Joe showing off one of several he turned into an ice cream cup.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Celebrate Dr. King by sharing this DVD with your children, Our Friend Martin, written by our friend, Dawn Comer Jefferson and Chris Simmons, writer for Static Shock, the animated series.

We have also found this show on tape at our local video rental store.

From Amazon. com:

This animated time-travel adventure features a stellar cast and is a delight for kids and adults alike. When Matt, a black teenager, has to go on a class field trip to the museum of Martin Luther King Jr., he thinks that he'd rather play baseball. But the trip turns into an exciting adventure when he and his best friend, Randy, who's white, are sent back in time to meet Dr. King.

The story is also remarkably moving, as Matt and Randy learn what Dr. King did for humanity, and come to see him as a real person, not a historical figure. Matt and Randy experience segregation firsthand when they aren't allowed to eat on a train together. Together, they witness the bus boycott, the Birmingham riots, and the "I Have a Dream" speech. They discuss the theme of "non-violent resistance" with their new friend Martin and the work of Ghandi in India. As King tells Matt, "We must meet hate with love. It will take time, but somebody's got to start." Authentic historical footage blended with animation make this an excellent choice for teaching kids about the legacy of Dr. King. --Elisabeth Keating

Stars the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Ed Asner, Angela Bassett and more.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Start 'em Young! - PaD 1/13/07

Start 'em Young! - PaD 1/13/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
Now, thankfully, he isn't drinking coffee, just hot chocolate on this chilly day. That said, he felt he had to doctor it with cinnamon and other additions to make it "just right!"

I think he got my foodie instincts...oh, boy! What's next?

I wonder how good he is at making desserts? Hmmm.... (SMILE)

Chronic problems with LA Events both big and small

This morning the family headed off to a fairly small scale event at an independent bookstore in Studio City. Now, I am not the biggest fan of crowds, but I can usually deal OK with smaller groups. That said, when we arrived, the venue was getting pretty full. Parents and kids were sitting on the floor getting ready for the show and the room was beginning to fill up. This is when "IT" happened again. A store staffer came over to the entry to the room and stated "You can't sit in the doorway. You can't sit in the doorway. You have to move." Yet, this staffer had no alternative to sitting in the doorway, except to leave.

Hearing that phrase once would have been OK, but over the course of the next 15 minutes I probably heard it around 10-15 times. Here I was at something that was supposed to be a fun event, but all I was getting out of it was this repetitive (and increasingly desperate) attempt to make people comply with their rules. After about 15 minutes, I had had enough and left my family to enjoy the show while I had a coffee and did some writing nearby.

My main complaint with situations such as this are that is doesn't have to be this way. Events, big and small, happen all over Los Angeles every day, yet it seems that this problem is repeated again and again. This creates problems on many different levels for both the patrons and those hosting the event and yet, I am sure if I were to attend an event here in 2 weeks or 2 years, the same problems would still persist.

Why do the problems occur? Here is my take:

  • Lack of clear directions

    If a venue doesn't want you sitting in the doorway, signs (or other indicators) should be placed there so patrons would not have to be told again and again. Sure, you will still have to make some announcements, but their frequency would be decreased as the majority of people would read the sign and try to comply. Most people will follow the rules if you only let them know what the rules are.

  • Poor room design

    If you know you are going to host events in your store, then design the room to prevent the typical issues. Had they designed this particular room so you couldn't see the performance area from the doorway, the problem would have been eliminated. Plan ahead and don't assume that one room will suffice for every type of event you might hold. Make it flexible. Plan ahead.

  • Too many people

    Every event, from a small book reading to a major concert, has the potential to attract more people than a room or venue can safely hold. This is Los Angeles, we should know this by now. I don't care if you are holding a book signing with Jimmy Carter or an author writing a first book, prepare for the biggest crowd you might get. Have procedures and policies in place which can be implemented when events grow beyond their usual size. Take reservations, if you must, but do something to limit the number of people trying to cram into a particular space. The fact is, no matter the size of a space, people will continue to force their way in until someone tells them to stop. If this isn't human nature, it is, at least, LA nature. Understand this and allow for it.

Now, why should stores and other venues care about this problem. Simply because it costs them money in the long run. Unpleasant experiences stick with customers long after the pleasant one's have faded. Do you want your customers to be reminded of the annoying staff member when they think of your store, or the great time they had there? Do you want them to come back for future events and more shopping or do you want them to think that the last time was too much trouble?

It would seem that with all the events that happen in this city, some care would be taken to make them the most enjoyable experience possible. Instead, throughout the city, we are almost always faced with crowded events, frazzled parents and rude people.

Shopkeepers and event planners of LA, do us all a favor, and yourself as well, plan your events with people in mind...large groups of people...because even the smallest event can attract hundreds of folks who just want to have a good time.

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Event: Photo Fun in Franklin - Jan 14

Photo Fun in Franklin

SUN 1/14 2pm -- Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Canyon An experienced photographer will help you find unique views and photo opportunities in nature. Reservations required 310-858-7272 x131. 2hrs WODOC/ MRCA

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Winter Sunset - PaD 1/12/07

Winter Sunset - PaD 1/12/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
A beautiful end to a chilly day and the beginning of what promises to be a frigid night here in Los Angeles. Lows in the 20's with snow on the surrounding hills. I don't see where the precipitation is going to come from, though, as my weather station here only shows 19% humidity. and it feels as dry as a bone outdoors.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Me Time - PaD 1/11/07

Me Time - PaD 1/11/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.

After a very busy week, time for little bit of "put your feet up", "kick back", "kids are in bed, wife's at a meeting", honest to goodness ME time.

Excuse me for a second ...aaahhhhhhhh... now where was that cup of coffee?


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Event: Getting organized can transform your life! Workshop - Jan 21, 2007

Note: Carmen is a fellow presenter from BarCampLA and she does great organization workshops. If you are looking to "get things done" in the New Year, this could be a perfect opportunity. -- Douglas

Optimal Mindset Workshop Series!

Getting organized can transform your life!

The Optimal Mindset for Work/Life Balance Workshop takes the best of leading corporate productivity techniques and teaches you to integrate them into your daily life - to help you achieve optimal use of your time and energy, so you can give the most of yourself to your job, your family and yourself.

Get rid of the endless to-do lists, learn how to manage your time and energy effectively, and give your every idea and goal a jumpstart to success.

In this one day, 4 hour workshop, we will take all your "stuff" - including incomplete tasks, goals, projects, old to-do lists, files, etc. and learn to effectively, efficiently and elegantly organize and process these items into achievable next actions, integrating everything into a simple and intuitive workflow.

If you'd like to get organized for a productive start to your new year, this is the perfect workshop for you!

Date: Sunday, January 21st, 2pm - 6pm
(with monthly workshops upcoming in February, March and April)
Location: Hollywood, CA ( directions sent out upon receipt of payment )
Cost: $130.00 (Payable via Paypal to cdj@optimalmindset.com)

There is limited seating, and I want to keep the groups fairly small (8 or less) to ensure that each participant receives some 1 on 1 coaching throughout the session. If you know someone else who could use a good dose of organizational coaching, feel free to let them know about this workshop. Additionally, if you have a group of people you'd like to get organized, then I am also available to do these workshops in your home or office. Private coaching is always available.

For more information, please email cdj@optimalmindset.com.

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Jem - PaD 1/7/07

Jem - PaD 1/7/07Our cat, Jen, basking in the warm sunlight of a January day.

Monday, January 08, 2007

JPEG Magazine Photo Submission

One of my fellow Friends in Tech members, Kevin Devin, submitted one of his photos for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of JPEG Magazine.

This gave me a push to submit one of my own photos. You can vote for my photo by clicking on the link below.

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Project: Xylophone Windchime from Make Magazine

A neat, and easy, project from Make Magazine.

Looks like I have another item to look for when I visit the Salvation Army store up the street. I am always looking for old technology and stuff that can be made into some neat for the garden, to make robots, or simply entertain ourselves.

Make Magazine is a great source for projects which involve all the above.

Xylophone Windchime

Instructables brings you a cool children's toy mod! - Link

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

What I'm Reading...

Travel books - Photo-A-Day for October 24, 2006Time for another round up of the books on my desk, most from the LA Public Library. It is a pretty eclectic grouping this time around.

A Country Year by Sue Hubbell
Two Gardener's: A Friendship in Letters
The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's Day by John Maxwell
Vital Friends by Tom Rath
Guerrilla P.R. WIRED by Michael Levine
The Box: How the shipping container made the world smaller and the world economy bigger by Marc Levinson
The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America by Walter R. Borneman
Furnishing the Old-Fashioned Garden by May Brawley Hill
Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer
The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

You can find these books, and more, featured in the WelchWrite Bookstore in association with Amazon.com

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On Podcasting: Belkin TuneStudio

Podcasting continues to drive manufacturers to new heights.

Kevin Devin, fellow Friends in Tech member and host of In The Trenches, emailed about this interesting new mixer from Belkin.

Belkin introduces the TuneStudio, a 4-channel mixer with direct-to-iPod recording. No need for a laptop or separate recorder. 2 XLR inputs for microphones and 2 additional channels for standard audio inputs.

I could see several situations where this all-in-one solution could come in handy. More and more I am recording "out and about", but more than just one-on-one interviews. The ability to make a live mix could offer up some interesting possibilities.

Link: iLounge Story: Belkin debuts TuneStudio four-channel iPod mixer
Link: Belkin (no info on their web site yet)

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

@ Machine Project in Echo Park

Intro from the Machine Project and Dorkbot Co-ordinator, Garnet Hertz and pretty picture from Streaming Birefringence Demo.

(See below for short video)

Getting StartedPretty Scenes
Click photos from more @ Flickr.com

We made a visit to the the Machine Project at Sunset and Alvarado in Echo Park today. I have been meaning to make it down for one of their shows or workshops, but it never seemed to fit into my schedule. Finally, in the week following their featured article in the LA Weekly, the whole family took in a cool demo.

From the Machine Project Web Site...

"We'll start this event with a demo by Bob Blackstock from Laminar Sciences Corporation: he'll be bringing and demoing some patent-pending "streaming birefringence" devices that produce extraordinarily interesting and colorful flow visualizations. It's like a combination of kaleidoscope, Etch-a-Sketch, and Lava Lamp with swirling colors spontaneously appear then disappear. Bob is exploring aesthetic and technical applications for these devices, including flow visualization for fluid mechanics and aerodynamics. See http://www.laminarsciences.com/id11.html for videos of this gear in action."

This was very cool. We also got a quick demo of a vintage oil lamp, which creates many of those "groovy" effects you see in 60's music videos and concert footage. See the Flickr Photo set for more pictures. I highly recommend checking out their schedule of on-going projects and have a little fun making or learning something.

Streaming Birefringence Demo from Laminar Sciences

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Vintage Oil Projector - PaD 1/6/07

Too cool, Dude!

See the next post for more information on our visit to Machine Project, 1200 Alvarado Stret, Los Angeles, CA (Echo Park)

Elsewhere in LA: Recycle Your Xmas Tree This Weekend!

Great information from Blogging.la on recycling your tree. Of course, this would help to prevent my yearly rant about Christmas trees littering every curb from here to San Diego. Is it really that hard to find a recycling place or chop it up and put it in your garden bin. Isn't that the final task of the holiday season.

Every year I find myself wishing I had a chipper/shredder, so I could make use of all the free mulch I could use. Of course, I don't have my pickup anymore, so transporting the trees wouldn't be as easy as before.

Oh, well, if you live in LA, do yourself, and your neighbors, a favor and get thee to a recycling yard.

Recycle Your Xmas Tree This Weekend!

Jillian: If you had the kind of Christmas tree that doesn't get replanted after the holiday, here's your chance to repair your karma! Green LA Girl has linked to a post about how to recycle your Christmas tree in the LA area. And when you bring in your old tree, you get a new one, FREE! (New one is a seedling, which, in a few years, will become a lovely pointy-style Christmas tree)

Dropoff locations are accepting trees today, tomorrow, and next weekend. Also, please remember: it is illegal to leave your tree at your curb, due to fire hazard (this means you, across the street neighbors!!)

(Via Blogging.LA.)

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Sicily 2006 - Caltagirone (00:03:47)

I came across this video while I was wandering through Google Video today. This is one of the cities we visited on our last trip to Sicily. It is relatively unknown among American tourists, but I highly recommend it, especially during the Christmas Season, when it is filled with Presepe's (Nativity Scenes) of all shapes, sizes and constructions.

Video Description:

Sicily - Caltagirone : city of brightly painted ceramics and her famous 17th C "Scala di Santa Maria de Monte" - a long flight of steps decorated with multicoloured ceramic majolico tiles. (00:03:47)

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Elsewhere Online: Maze Generator

My son loves mazes, so what could be better than a web site that makes as many as he wants?

Build your own here!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

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Book and Book - PaD 1/5/07

Book and Book - PaD 1/5/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
How I spend most of my lunches these days...reading and writing! What have you read lately? Drop a note in the comments! Click the "Comments" link below.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Elsewhere Online: VideoJug: Online recipes and video demonstrationsRecipe: Breakfast - VideoJug

I was playing around with the StumbleUpon Firefox extension, which randomly selects web sites in categories you prefer. This is one of several that caught my eye.

The videos are well done and the recipes are quite good and varied. If you are looking for a little something different in your web browsing and video viewing, VideoJug is a great place to start.

Cooking Recipes with video demonstrations

(Via StumbleUpon.)

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Elsewhere Online: How to Draw a Head from The Academy of Art university

Get out your pencils, boys and girls and LET'S DRAW!

Cool, interactive demonstration.

How to Draw a Head from The Academy of Art university

(Via StumbleUpon)

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Elsewhere in LA: Pssst: LACMA's Magritte Show is Free for Kids Under 18

Is a free deal really FREE if you can't find any information on it? Thank goodness LAist has got our back on the FREE front and digs up this sweet tip about LACMA.

Why is it that some of the museums in this town seem to want to make it harder to visit than easier. To me, a museum with no visitors is a less than worthless exercise.

Oh well, enjoy!

Pssst: LACMA's Magritte Show is Free for Kids Under 18

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is doing something super cool right now, they're giving away their Magritte and Friends show to everyone 17 and under. It's so sweet they feel shy about talking about it, so we will help them.


(Via LAist.)

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Press any number - PaD 1/3/07

Press any number - PaD 1/3/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
...or should it be "pick a number...any number?" These days at the gas pump that might be more appropriate. (SMILE)

Old and New - PAD 1/2/07

Old and New - PAD 1/2/07
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
My friend Sam's new Vista Capable Gateway computer with my old analog method of taking notes.

Elsewhere Online: Build a Lego Trebuchet

This detailed and photographically documented project could be the start of a great science fair project, or just a load of fun for interested tinkerers.

Build a Lego Trebuchet

(Via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.)

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Elsewhere Online: Flash-Powered, Animated Musical Painting: Visual Acoustics

Another great toy...or is it a game...or a musical instrument...or all this and more?

Flash-Powered, Animated Musical Painting: Visual Acoustics

Visual Acoustics is an online musical toy built in Flash designed by Alex Lampe (”Ample Interactive”) of the UK. (Via Music Thing.)


(Via unmediated.)

Event: First Friday Nights Free at the Norton Simon Museum

First Friday Nights Free at the Norton Simon Museum

First Friday, of every month, January 5, 2007 - December 7, 2007
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd , Pasadena , 91105

Phone: (626) 449-6840

Admission: Free

Accessibility: Wheel Chair Access, Hearing Devices Available
Website: www.nortonsimon.org

Description: Did you know that the Norton Simon Museum is free the first Friday of each month from 6-9 pm? Visitors can stroll through the Museum’s galleries and gardens, follow a free guided tour at 7 pm, or enjoy a light dinner, dessert or a glass of wine in the Garden Cafe. What a better way to start the weekend?

-- from ExperienceLA.com

TechnologyIQ LIVE - What I like - January 2, 2007

Note: Now that TechnologyIQ has its own home, you can subscribe directly to it. Visit http://welchwrite.com/techiq/ for future blog entries, articles and podcasts. -- Douglas

Listen to "Ep.004 - What I Like! - January 2, 2007

Your (and my) favorite pieces of software, hardware, web sites and more!

Receive each new episode of TechnologyIQ automatically!

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Click for more info on TechnologyIQ

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Monday, January 01, 2007

TechnologyIQ has a new home!

New Year's Day is always a great time to get started on new projects, so TechnologyIQ now has its own, new home.

Future blog posts and podcasts will be posted over there, with a short mentioned here in My Word.

Here are the relevant links:

TechnologyIQ Blog
TechnologyIQ RSS Feed - Subscribe for Free Automatic Delivery
TechnologyIQ Page on Talkshoe.com - Our home for our LIVE shows

Our next LIVE show is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 2, 2007 @ 6PM PST/9PM EST

Join us live in the chat room and "on the line" via phone or using Gizmo for a free connection. (When using Gizmo, dial 1234@, instead of the typical phone number.)

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TechnologyIQ: Podcasts offer host of radio and television-style shows on thousands of different topics

by Douglas E. Welch, techiq@welchwrite.com
206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line

If you have met with me recently, or even read this newsletter, you know that I am an avid fan of podcasting. One of the greatest aspects of podcasting, though, is that the shows available aren't limited to technology topics. In fact, there are shows on movies, knitting, finances, sports, comedy, public affairs, NPR, news, and almost any other topic you can imagine.

These shows are created by the big content providers, like NPR, CNN, PBS and others, but there are also shows created by people just like you. People who are passionate about their interests and hobbies who want to share that passion with others. Regardless of your interests, I am almost positive that you can find a show on whatever topic interests you most.


First and foremost, listening or watching podcasts does NOT REQUIRE an iPod. You can listen or watch podcasts directly on your computer. If you really like a particular show, you can even burn episodes to CD or DVD for easy watching on your television or listening in your car. That said, an iPod of other MP3 music player allows to get the most from your podcasts, delivering "what you want, where you want, when you want it."


So, How do you start to mine this wealth of Internet riches? One of the easiest methods is to use Apple's FREE iTunes software, available for both Windows and Macintosh computers. If you don't already have this software installed on your computer, you can download it directly from Apple at: http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ .


Once you have downloaded and installed iTunes (contact me for assistance if you have any issues or questions), run the program and click on the iTunes Store listed on the left-hand side of the main window. This opens up the iTunes store, where you can purchase music, television shows and movies. We are interested in the free podcasts, though, so next, click on the "podcasts" link in the upper-left-hand corner of the iTunes Store page.

You will now see a page very similar to the iTunes store, but all the listings here are individual podcasts. The center section of this page includes a changing selection of Featured audio and video podcasts in a variety of Genres. Along the left, you will find a list of Genres and also a list of big name content providers whose names you probably already recognize. If you are looking for one of your favorite radio shows, like All Things Considered, you might find it here. Finally, along the right, are a list of the most popular podcasts listed in the iTunes podcast directory.


Clicking on any of the shows listed here will give you more information on the show and links to their latest episodes. You can double-click any episode to sample that show or click on the Subscribe button to automatically receive the latest episode of the show and any subsequent episodes. Again, there are NO FEES involved with subscribing to podcasts.

If you subscribe to a show, it will then appear in the Podcasts list in iTunes, where you can see which shows are available for listening/watching, and easily unsubscribe if you don't wish to receive any more episodes. Some people liken this to the "Now Playing" list seen on the TiVO. Double-clicking any entry will start playing the show. You can pause, fast-forward and rewind, just as you can with any CD or tape player.

I hope you will take a moment to check out the iTunes podcast directory and experience the wealth of riches it has to offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at douglas@welchwrite.com or call 818-601-0051 for assistance.

* Once you have iTunes installed, you can click on any of the links below to take you directly to the information/subscription page for these shows:

My Word with Douglas E. Welch

A Gardener's Notebook

Career Opportunities

The Radio Adventures of Doctor Floyd

Botar's Old time Radio

AnimalBytes with Keri Dearborn

Typical Mac User