Courtesy of: Cloudwards.net
Loading A 5 Megabyte Hard Disk Onto A Pan Am Plane, 1956
March 30, 2015
December 19, 2014
Loading A 5 Megabyte Hard Disk Onto A Pan Am Plane, 1956
Comments Off on 23 Amazingly Powerful Pictures Of World History – brainjet.com
September 26, 2012
My daughter gave me a good book to read called Makers by Cory Doctorow. The people in the book worked with 3D printers, so I got interested in 3D printers.
It has been fascinating to read about them and to learn about them. I am still looking for the “killer app” that will make them go mainstream.
October 24, 2011
December 19, 2010
There are programs that read through the Internet, following links from one website to another. They have several names. I like the name spiders because they crawl through the World Wide Web. They are usually called robots or bots.
Some of these robots are controlled by search engines and crawl websites so the search engines can index all websites.
Others are looking for websites to exploit, and find forms to automatically fill out to promote or provide links.
July 31, 2010
In frustration, many programmers are fond of saying “there is never enough time to do it right, but there is time to do it over”. When prototyping became the fashion, the saying was turned around to “if there is time enough to do it over, there is time to do it right”.
I needed to rewrite some code that I wrote several years ago this week. I was surprised at how much I could improve the code as I rewrote it.
The system now does much more than it did before, and the code is much more elegant.
December 28, 2009
Check out the Expression Web Xmas 2009/New Year 2010 Giveaway at http://www.frontpage-to-expression.com/expression-web-giveaway.html.
The contest is fun, but the real value is the following:
Good luck on the contest.
September 24, 2009
I like to stay informed on various topics: Some examples are RSS and Website planning, design, construction, promotion, and maintenance.
These are the steps I use.
I create a Blog to hold the information for each topic. I have a blog for
I subscribe to information sources about the topics.
When I read the sources and want to remember a source, I add the source to the appropriate blog.
Periodically, I go through the blogs, summarize the information, and update my website.
Some side benefits
August 17, 2009
I have a new client – the Five Little Monkeys Preschool.
Five Little Monkeys has webcams in several places throughout the school. The webcams are available so that parents can check on their kids throughout the day. I just think that is a terrific idea.
July 15, 2009
Google is going to use a 15 year old operating system and a year old browser to build a free operating system for netbooks.
Why would Google do this? The speculation is most interesting.
Google is in the advertising business. That is how they make all their money. The tech stuff is just a way to deliver the advertising.
I think it is great. It provides a number of services for free if I can put up with ads – which I can.
I wonder, in the past, if anyone wanted to give away TVs so there were more viewers and more people to view ads.
May 3, 2009
What kind of twitter person are you? Which part of the grid are you in?
My feeling is that sucessful twitterers are in more than one grid.
April 12, 2009
I have used three different online backup systems. Here is a quick analysis of some features – and why I am moving to Memopal. This is not a careful evaluation, just my notes as I move forward.
Robin McCain and I gave a presentation on Business Continuity, Security and Backups to PASS (Professional Association of Support Services) on Saturday morning April 11, 2009.
Please leave any questions or comments here.
March 15, 2009
Robin McCain and I gave a presentation on Open Source Software to PASS (Professional Association of Support Services) last Saturday morning.
Please leave any questions or comments here.
February 4, 2009
I use Mozy for my offline backups and I am very pleased with the service. I moved to Mozy because my previous service did not support external hard drives.
I did run into a situation with my Mozy backups that should have been immediately obvious, but I did not catch it for a while.
The first backup you do with an offline service takes a good while. I backup about 30G which is certainly not an exorbitant amount, and the first backup took 3 – 4 days elapsed time with the computer not running 24/7.
Each day the backups run anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. However, ever now and again the backups seemed to start over, and take the entire 3 – 4 days again. It happened again this week so I finally stopped to figure it out.
Every now and again I would start the computer without the external hard drive – which I do from time to time if all that I am going to do is use the Internet. The problem happened when the automatic backups started during the time the external hard drive was off. Mozy did the little bit of backups from drive C: and then assumed 29G was deleted, and deleted it from my backups.
The next backup had to start over. Once I figured it out, it was easy enough to control, but it took me a couple minutes of thinking to figure out what was happening.
A quick email to Mozy support (which is very responsive) confirmed my diagnosis.
There was a turning point in the development of software when it was finally discovered that it took more time and money to maintain a system than to develop it. The emphasis shifted to creating systems that were easy to maintain.
To make a system easier to maintain the first goal was to create a system with fewer bugs.
To create the system with fewer bugs, there were a number of processes that were used. One of the most interesting and controversial was the “code walk through”. Programmers after they created a piece of code, usually a subroutine, sat with their peers for a review of the code.
The goal was to reduce bugs and reduce overall maintenance. Programmers are not known for their social tact, and it was difficult at first to teach that when you reviewed code, you had to do it with some tact.
Some programming sites made the rule that before you pointed out any errors, you had to say something positive. There was a famous story that one programmer who after reviewing the code of another programmer struggled to find something postive to say, until he finally blurted out “thank you for writing so clearly so I can see all the errors”.
February 1, 2009
To deal with the issues of complexity and flexibility in software development, programmers and software developers have tried various techniques.
One technique is to try and make the software as flexible as possible. It is hard to anticipate each and every requirement for the system, so the system is made as flexible as possible.
There are several methodologies.
All these approaches are designed to make changing the system easier and quicker.
January 31, 2009
A person wants to buy a car, so they go to a dealer that provides a way to order a car to specifications.
The person makes selections from a number of options
And gets a car delivered to the specifications. The person looks at the car and is pleased that it looks like everything is to specifications.
The person gets in the car and says
And then the person says
The issue of course, is that certain assumptions are made about cars that are general knowledge.
The same is not true for software.
When someone comes to a software developer, there is not a clear understanding of what features are easily modified or added, and which ones are not.
January 3, 2009
I am spending more time twittering than blogging these days.
November 17, 2008
I often help clients set up web hosting accounts. I agree with the philosophy that you should have three different vendors for each of the following.
I find all too often, having one vendor for all means one point of failure if a company goes out of business.
Web hosting companies often are most concerned about the typical web hosting stuff:
But I find that the thing clients are most concerned about is email. Email is essential to most companies, and it is the email issues that are paramount.
In many cases, email is a part of the myriad choices in the control panel, there are multiple spam filters available, and multiple web mail services.
I would encourage web hosts to have a special email button that is designed for clients with just a few options with suggested defaults for spam filters and web mail services. It might be the only time that the client accesses the control panel.
November 7, 2008
Google Local is a service to help people find local businesses. I recommend everyone go to Google Local – maps. google.com and search for their own business.
Then try and find your business in the neighboring towns or cities if they are close. Are you satisfied with the results? If not,
Find Add or edit your business and follow the directions to add your business. Some suggestions.
November 3, 2008
I mentioned the other day that I do not like to buy software. The assumption is always that I find software illegally, but there are many ways to find free software. This is a review of some ways I find free software.
Open Source Software.
Software that is maintained by a community of developers that is free to use. The foundation LAMP software of the Internet – Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP is open source and free. Other products I use for web based systems are all free. Two examples:
There are open source substitutes for Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Quickbooks and other expensive software products. See List of Open Source Software.
Freeware is software that has no cost. If differs from open source in that it is generally created and maintained by an individual or company. I use the CNET service download.com to find freeware. Download.com finds all software, but freeware can be filtered out.
This is a service that offers a free download everyday. Many times it is a software product. Today the software was CaptureIt. CaptureIt is a powerful, flexible and easy-to-use screen capture software. It normally sells for 29.95. Unfortunately, each product is available for only 24 hours. I have been able to collect a nice set of utilities by subscribing to this service and downloading what I want when it is available.
October 23, 2008
I gave a presentation this morning at the East Bay Business Leaders on Content Management Systems. It is the fourth of a series of presentations on how to build business by using the Internet.[audio: ebbl-cms.mp3]
October 20, 2008
It used to be that when something was broadcast like a tv or radio show, you watched or listened when it was broadcast.
When I was a boy, we lined up our chairs in front of the radio to listen to “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”, “The Long Ranger”, “The Shadow” and others. You had to listen when they were broadcast.
Now with TiVo, On Demand, Recordings, and the Internet, we can listen to most broadcast shows at any time. This is called time shifting. Time shifting typically refers to TV shows, but it also refers to Internet audio like podcasting.
We can now schedule our listening and viewing in the same way we schedule our reading – at our convenience.
On the other hand, with things being time shifted, most every show is available at all times, giving us even more listening and viewing choices.
October 19, 2008
One of the trends of the Internet is disintermediation – getting rid of the middle man.
You can write, record, and distribute to a world wide audience without intermediaries.
October 17, 2008
When I work with clients, I create a task database to keep track of tasks and status. Both the client and I can add and update tasks, and it provides constant visibility.
I create PHP files to drop, define, load, and list the data base files. I use that technique so that I easily drop, define and rebuild the data base files and reuse the code.
But I had a problem. The database kept being deleted. It was very frustrating. I thought perhaps someone had hacked into the code and was running the database routines to drop and define the database files.
I started to backup the database with any database change, and enhanced both the database backup and restore routines.
Then I put a silent routine into each database PHP routine that sent a silent email with all the information about who was running the routines.
In a few days, I started to get emails showing the database routines were being run and the database files were being dropped. But when I did a IP reverse lookup I was surprised to find that the routines were being run by the Yahoo Crawl Robot.
I did have a robots.txt file disallowing the folder in question, but that was apparently not working.
I had to add a user id and password.
October 9, 2008
This morning at the East Bay Business Leaders meeting I talked about RSS.[audio:ebbl-rss.mp3]
October 4, 2008
RSS is one of those great technologies that are not easy to explain.
Many people use RSS in iGoogle or MyYahoo and do not know that they are using RSS.
Many people blog and create RSS feeds but they do not know they are creating an RSS feed.
As people start to understand RSS, they become prosumers, which is a combination of producer and consumer.
September 27, 2008
September 10, 2008
The more I use my Treo 700P, the more I like it.
I have used Palms for years, so I like the Palm OS, but I also like the way the Treo works.
Each month I add a new feature or two. This month was a Bluetooth headset. I got a very basic and inexpensive headset, but it works just fine. And it satisfies the new handsfree California law.
I also got a Secure Digital Card. It is just a 2G, but it enables me to start doing a few other functions.
I like the idea of adding something new every month, it keeps it fresh.
September 5, 2008
Google Chome has opened up the browser conversation again.
People I am talking to are chatting about IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome. The new entry into the browser world has caused us all to reassess what we really want in a browser.
I have talked to several who have taken a hard look at their FireFox addons to see which ones are really desired and not just “nice to have”. Many of us now have a hard list of what would have to be in Chome to switch.
This is my list of FireFox addons that I will not give up.
September 2, 2008
Google Chrome is causing system problems. When I try and view Flash Videos, it takes 100% of the CPU, and then does not really show the flash video.
Screen captures show the results of trying to watch a flash video using Google Chrome. Because all the CPU was being used, I could not stop the video and had to cancel Google Chrome.
September 1, 2008
Google Chrome is the new Google browser.
http://blogoscoped.com/google-chrome/ is the comic book that introduces the new Google browser.
It might be the most important technical comic book ever published.
For me, they should turn it into a video and put it on YouTube. In fact, I would guess that someone will do that shortly.
Tomorrow, Google Chrome will be available. Any bet on whether there are Google server problems tomorrow?
And for those of us who work with Browser incompatibilities every day, I wish Google would address basic HTML and CSS issues also.
Firefox got so bad I switched to Internet Explorer, and I thought I would never to that. I cannot switch to Opera, because many of the addons I like to use, like Google toolbar, do not run with Opera.
Firefox runs well enough to use FireFTP and FireBug which I now find essential, but Internet Explorer (gasp!) is now my default browser.
It is probably some combination of add-ons that I have put on Firefox, or some corruption, but Firefox is no longer stable.
Bring on Google Chrome!
August 31, 2008
I am having lots of problems with FireFox.
First I will uninstall and install FireFox.
Already I am starting to use IE and Opera more.
August 29, 2008
I question the value of doing extended software evaluations. I recommend that people find a product that has the basic functionality they need, and instead of evaluating multiple products, spend the time learning how to use the product effectively.
There are several reasons for this:
I was once in a mainframe Information Technology company that needed to decide on a database system. Mainframe database systems cost 100K or more and the usual evaluation period was 6-9 months. The CIO called anyone with database experience into a conference room, invited them to tell of any mainframe database product, and do a quick evaluation. We decided on a product during that meeting, ordered it the following day, and installed if with a few days. At the end of 6-9 months, we had the first two applications running, and we all knew how to use the database product.
August 25, 2008
I support Senator Barack Obama. I say that in this blog.
Adsense picks up on Bararck Obama and presents ads about Barack Obama, some of them negative. That creates a quandary. Do I allow those that are trying to place negative ads advertise on this blog?
I cannot really click the ads to find out if they are reasonable, because that is click fraud. I do not want to spend my time reading negative Senator Obama ads. So I restrict the negative ads that I see.
It is simple to go to Adsense and register the URL of those that I would prefer not show on this blog. It is the first time I have used that service.
I sometimes think that RoboForm is my best productivity tool.
It keeps track of userid/passwords for all the web services that I use, and not only that, allows me to automatically enter them as well.
I find myself looking through the RoboForm list to remember the name for a webpage I have not entered in months, selecting the webpage, and then being signed on and presented with the service.
A fine service done well.
August 1, 2008
Google announced that there are now over a trillion web pages, even after the duplicates are eliminated.
I have a hard enough time with numbers already. Let’s review:
does yotta mean the same as lotta … as in lot of.
I remember when Teradata Corporation was selling a data base machine. Seemed like more data than anyone could ever use.
July 13, 2008
I use logmein.com. I find it to be a good service. I have no financial interest in the service, although as I write this I think I should sign up and be an affiliate.
I have a desktop and a laptop. Many are getting away from that combination and just working with a laptop, but I still have both.
When I go out on the road, I take my laptop. If I am working on the Internet, I just connect directly. But sometimes I want to access a program that is only on my desktop, like Photoshop.
Then I connect to the internet, sign on to logmein.com, and then link up with the desktop. I can use all the desktop products.
I am certainly aware that there are multiple products and services that do this, but logmein is my favorite, and for what I described, it is free.
The reason that it came to mind today is that the video card on my desktop died. I will put a new one in soon, but in the interim, I started the desktop and the laptop, and I am accessing the desktop through the Internet.
So I am sitting here using the desktop monitor and keyboard, but running through the Internet using the laptop. The laptop and the desktop are a few feet away, but I am sending the packets over the Internet.
Now I know of course there are other ways to connect, but this way was already set up, and so it was the most expedient to do.
It is surprisingly quick.
Keeping computers operating and running well requires regular effort, unless you have an Apple Mac of course.
I have never had a Mac, but people I know that have one tell me the Macs work without fail all of the time, and even clean their own monitor screens, but I do not know if they are exagerating.
I had some work to do on my computers this week, so the first thing you know is that they are not Macs. Now why would I own something that requires constant effort? Because I also work on other people’s computers, and get paid for it. Makes no sense to become an expert on Macs. No money in it.
This week my monitor was going out, starting to tile, flicker, and behave badly. So I got a new monitor. I did not buy a new one, just asked around and got a couple of monitors that other technicians were not using.
Same problem. hmmmm … must be the video card. So I gave the video card a little push to make sure it was seated properly, and now there is no signal at all. So today I will put in a new video card and see if that is really the problem.
I am like most technicians, and have boxes of computer parts, boards, wires, and connectors. I will go through the box and see if I have a video card. I do not play video games, so any video card that works is ok with me.
My desktop continually gets reworked with new parts. I wonder if there is any thing original that came when the computer was first put together, other than the case.
July 5, 2008
I added the audio player plugin to WordPress today, so of course I had to add an audio. I picked out an audio I did some time ago when I was doing a daily podcast at BizIII.
A BizIII Podcast about Les Bain:[audio:http://www.biziii.com/podcasts/20070521.mp3]
June 22, 2008
So what did I learn while moving to a new web host.
June 9, 2008
Whatever happened to Windows XP SP3? Did I miss the memo?
I am still on SP2 – I just checked – and I do the regular Windows updates. Perhaps I need to manually choose to install SP3.
I apply all the updates, so perhaps I am at the equivalent of SP3. I have not heard the customary screaming about SP3, so it is either a clean update, or no one is doing it.
And what about Firefox Version 3? I signed up for the memorable day to download and install the new version of Firefox. I am still waiting.
I have read some reviews that say it is a fine product, so I will make it a point to download if soon in the big day does not arrive.
I just have to remember to not do them at the same time, because then if there are problems I will not know which one caused the problems.
June 2, 2008
I looked at a website today that I created 5 years ago. It was a mess.
There were some simple changes that I had to make but they were difficult to make. I suppose I will have to retool the website. FrontPage extensions will be obsolete soon.
If I had the time, I would welcome the opportunity, because I like to take messy code and create more elegant code.
May 27, 2008
Twitter has been a great source of amusement and amazement.
And Twitter is free.
May 25, 2008
The next function I am going to learn about my new Treo is all the sounds, beeps, rings, alerts, and alarms.
I learned about
I still get alerts, etc. Some of them go off early in the morning.
I need to find the way to turn off all sounds so
May 20, 2008
Potential website clients will call and ask how much it would cost to make a small change to their website. Boy is that tricky.
I cringe as I wonder if the previous webmaster used any sort of technique for common code.
I wonder if the client can find their Web hosting user id and password, or whether that disappeared with their last webmaster. Of course it can be retrieved. It usually takes a conference call with the web hosting site, the owner, and myself.
I wonder if there is any unusual pattern of redirects that must be followed. I started to look at one website where the redirects were 4 deep. A went to B went to C went to D. I have no idea why.
And I wonder if the previous webmaster has two duplicate sites depending on where the visitor is coming from. It must have been an analysis to see if one worked better than the other, but I changed the website, then discovered there was a duplicate site in another subdirectory.
I have discovered these and other traps waiting for me as I look at a new website. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to make sure the there are no traps.
May 19, 2008
I am writing some PHP code. It is for a project that I am have been working on. It is the most elaborate code that I have written for a good while. Just about everything that I am coding is something I have not coded before.
The coding process, however, is most familiar. I use a combination of “top down development” and “step wise progression”. We used to have signs that said “programmers do it top down”. That was before we were engineers.
But the system could have great promise.
I will see.
May 15, 2008
We are having our first heat wave of the year. It was over 100 degrees today. It is not a major problem to survive, it gets hot in the afternoon and then cools off. It is pleasant now.
There is air conditioning in our apartment, so it is pleasant.
However, my computers have apparently been overheating today.
Yes I do worry about moisture with the cold packs, but I wrap them in paper towels and do my best to keep them dry.
May 9, 2008
When my children were young, we did not restrict their Internet access. We talked about the dangers openly, asked them what they knew about the dangers from their readings, and asked them what rules they followed. We agreed on the rules.
When they were in elementary school, the computers were in a public area of the house.
That was just about it.
I am not saying that was wise, it is just our style. Having a frank talk about the dangers allowed them to set their own limits. I knew they were going to visit porn sites and other sites, but I was much happier that they did it without having to try and hide it.
When my son was a Freshman in high school, he told me if I ever wanted to go to a porn site, he had account and password hacks.
When I set up computers for parents now, I am often instructed to put on the parental controls. I of course do it, and I always think back about how it was when my children were small.
I do not have any regrets. I still think we were right. But it is definitely worse now on the Internet, so I do wonder if I would put on parental controls now. Probably not.
May 5, 2008
I use Outlook for Email.
I have been working to reduce Spam and undesired email. The results are starting to show.
The Junk email folder is now full everyday. I review it but I will not be doing that much longer. I will change the rules to delete the spam without checking. I am just using the Outlook processing for now, and it seems to be working ok.
I make a distinction between mail boxes and mail folders.
When all works well, there are very few if any emails in my inbox.
If email shows up in my inbox, one of the following happens:
My overall time on email is being greatly reduced. I am trying to use that time looking at my RSS feeds without flying through them. More considered reading.
I am enjoying both the process and the results.
May 4, 2008
I try to learn a new Treo feature each day. There is a lot to learn. I have had Palms for years so I know the Palm OS, and thought I knew many of the applications.
Here is one example. I looked at the calculator. It looked like the standard Palm calculator. Nothing to learn. Then I hit the menu and looked at the options. There is an option for an advanced calculator. After you get to advanced calculator, you have the choice of
The only point is that each little application has multiple layers to be investigated.
It is fun.
May 2, 2008
I needed to upgrade WordPress. Today is the day.
I decided to download and try the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin.
It worked very well. I downloaded it, installed the plugin, and ran it to get a successful upgrade. I am now at the latest version of WordPress.
I ran the plugin in automatic mode, and it went through the steps quickly and successfully. I am most pleased.
Can you turn off your computer for 24 hours? Do you want to? Do you care?
I have not decided yet. Perhaps.
May 1, 2008
April 30, 2008
We moved from a fax machine to online fax. It was more difficult than I had imagined it was going to be.
I used to do online fax years ago, but I forgot that was the time we accessed online using a modem. Fax was built in.
It is not possible to just move to email with attachments. Most government, health insurance, and businesses want actual faxes. That is the way they are used to doing business. It required an online to fax machine process.
I picked out a fax service that is available both online and with a client frontend.
The difficult part was to get the scan process working effectively. We have an HP All-in-One machine and it is only a few years old, but the drivers had to be downloaded and upgraded. Some of the software would not work with IE 7 of all things.
At the end of the process I scanned in 14 pages, tweaked them so they looked sharp, and prepared them to be sent off using a nice client package.
That means we get rid of the land line.
April 29, 2008
I am working on reducing my email. I am unsubscribing from any email that I can. I am doing all I can to enhance my spam filter.
It is interesting to see the varied processes to unsubscribe from an email subscription.
When I am asked the reason, I say I am moving to RSS which puts me in control.
April 27, 2008
My external hard drive has failed several times now. It does not give any errors, it is just no longer available.
It started when I moved it to the new desktop. It happened several times right away. I had it tucked between two other items, so I moved it because I thought it might be getting hot. It went several days without a failure.
Yesterday when it failed, I lost my Outlook pst file completely. It was just gone. I had a backup, but I lost the email of the day.
Today I am trying on a different USB port. It is an external drive holder, so the next thing is to take out the hard drive and install it into the computer. I did not want to do that because now I can move it to the laptop with little effort.
I will wait and see.
April 22, 2008
I got a Treo™ 700p smartphone. It is used. It was a gift. Thank You.
I have always used Palm products and I like the Palm OS. This is probably the last gasp of that OS, but that is ok with me.
It is part of the process of sharpening the ax this month.
Now I just need to get busy chopping wood.
April 20, 2008
The new desktop and the revitalized laptop are all set up. It is wonderful to have it done. I feel like I have “sharpened my ax” to quote Steven Covey. I already feel more productive.
Part of the process is getting rid of many of the programs that clogged up the old computer. I try out different programs, and I do not do a good job of getting rid of them after I evaluate them. I resolve to do that better.
I also did not load many of the little utilities that did one small thing. I am going to wait and see how much I miss them. If I miss them, then I will load them.
April 19, 2008
This is an ongoing issue, and there are lots of options.
I use another technique. I get everything set on the desktop, and use remote control software to access the desktop over the internet.
The laptop becomes an internet machine, and the desktop is just another internet server to access. When I take the laptop to the patio to work, I access the desktop over the Internet using my wireless router along with any other site I want to access.
I spent many years in Information Technology. One part of that career was running large data centers with big mainframe computers. I am fond of saying than anyone with a desktop computer has the same issues we had running large data centers. It is just a matter of scale.
I have upgraded my data center this month, which for me means one desktop and one laptop. But all the issues of UPS (uninterrupted power supply), backups, security, naming conventions, and procedures are the same as a major data center.
But the issues are the same. And as I set up my desktop and laptop I think about those big data centers.
April 17, 2008
I am not being rigid about it, but I am trying to blog every day. It gives me a chance to reflect on the day, the accomplishments, the objectives, and the problems.
Then I blog about something that happened during the day. It is therapeutic.
I find myself blogging about the thorniest tech issue I had during the day. I suppose because that is where the intense energy goes.
Setting up a new computer gives plenty of thorny tech issues. As much as I work to keep all downloads saved in an organized way, there always seems to be utilities that I cannot find.
Today it was installing on the Financial systems including Quickbooks. That worked very well.
Tomorrow will have its own challenges I am sure.
April 16, 2008
I worked recently with a group that was having their “content” stolen. The email from the group was being captured and put on a Splog (Spam Blog). They spent a good deal of time tracking down the perpetrator. I helped them discover how it was being done.
I talked about that in an earlier post, and it is not the topic here.
It made me wonder about content and stealing content. This is a group that is moderated, but I am sure it is accepting new members. The posts are not public, but anyone can see them for a free sign up. The group asks and answers technical questions.
The posts of the Splog were captured right from the emails, so it contained references to where the posts originated.
But they were very protective of the posts in their group. I wonder why that is sometimes. It is a fine line on the Internet between wanting to be well known and being upset when you are well known enough to attract that sort of attention.
April 15, 2008
The original Mozy backups are complete!
So now the original backups are complete, the incremental schedule is set, and all is well.
I will test the restore later this week.
April 11, 2008
I have a new computer. It is not actually a new retail computer, but I installed a new mother board and power supply from someone who upgraded. It is much faster and newer than what I was using.
It is always so nice to have a faster computer. It feels so productive.
But like many people, I am a program collector. I am going to try and work with fewer programs so I can keep this computer cleaner, but swearing off all the little utilities that make my life easier or more fun will be difficult.
I am also going to consider using more server products and fewer client products.
But for now, I am just enjoying the speed of this new computer.
April 10, 2008
A colleague reported that content was being stolen from a Yahoo Group and placed on a Blogger blog. I did some research.
Blogger has a function that allows posting to the blog by sending email to a certain email address. The email address has the @blogger.com domain.
The person had subscribed to the Yahoo Group using the Blogger email. Any time an email went out to the Yahoo group, it ended up on the blog. The blog of course had lots of Adsense and other ads.
It took a while to sort it out, but once we figured out how it happened, the Yahoo Group moderator looked through the member list until they found a email with @blogger.com. To make sure they had the culprit, they sent an email and it popped up on the blog.
At this point, it is always a question of what to do. Of course, the person was dropped from the Yahoo Group. If it was me, I would crank up a script and send a whole bunch of messages to the blog. The messages would not be complementary. I would try and make them clever. But of course, if it is too clever, it might go viral and the guy would make money for a large number of ad impressions.
But I am done. I did the research. The Yahoo Group moderator will decide.
April 9, 2008
I am considering creating a Directory of RSS Resources to support the RSS Tutorial. I have looked at various products and decided to test out phpLD – the PHP Link Directory. It looks like a reasonable product to me. I like PHP / MySQL products and it fits that bill. There is a free version to start with. There is a paid version if it checks out.
I am going to try and seed the directory by doing some extracts and loads. Extract from DMOZ and other sources and load into the Directory of RSS Resources. The issue is what to use for title and description. I would like to extract title and description from the HTML so that there is no copyright issue.
Then to maintain the Directory of RSS Resources, I will open the directory for submissions. I expect it to take a while to get it set up, but it will be a nice complement to the RSS Tutorial.
April 8, 2008
Paperwork – a fine word that means dealing with the paper that we all still get. All the paperless office did was add email, rss, and IMs to all the paper we deal with. Today it is dealing with paper.
Paperwork these days usually means bills or taxes, so it is not fun.
Email is sounding good today.
April 7, 2008
Mozy is running with the message Reticulating Splines.
I just had to look it up. I led me on a merry surf. It is supposedly a joke originally done on Sim City that has been picked up by other products. It is a bogus status message that Sim City showed when it was loading. Software products now show it as a status message. Here is the story.
I am still working through the first time Mozy backups. I have had some downtime, so it has not been a consistent effort to get through the backups, but I am still working to get the first backup complete. I am backing up about 40G, so I knew it was going to be a while.
I know after the initial backup it will run quickly, so I am not worried, but I am getting concerned about getting through the initial backup. I went through the same process with Carbonite, so I am used to it, but I think I will stay with one service for a while.
Part of the reason is that I have the priority on the backups set as low as it will go in order not to tie up the broadband or my computer.
I have a backup on an external drive for everything critical, but I still want to have an off site backup.
April 6, 2008
I am like most technical folks … I get involved in computer hardware support. It is always more difficult than I imagine going in. “Oh, replace that defective CD drive – no problem – two wires and 4 screws.” Famous last words.
I had saved up all the hardware work I had to do, and with some able assistance, started to work on 6 different computers this weekend. I have run into problem after problem. I vow when I do this, I will never work on hardware again. I do not like it. One computer is done, there are 5 more in process.
I really like software development, everything from website construction to writing programs, and the thorniest problem is always just a challenge. But hardware problems are frustrating and irritating. It is probably because I often do not know enough to overcome the problems, but when I call in the experts they often get stumped also.
I think the real problem is that it is just not viable to spend too much time working on hardware. It is just so cheap to buy a new computer. That is especially true if everything is stored online. For those that use GMail, Zoho, del.icio.us, Flick, and similar products, computers are almost interchangeable.
It now looks as if 3 of 6 are working, but one that I rebuilt is lacking some files I thought were backed up and were not. Damn.
I hate working on hardware.
April 1, 2008
What countries are the people from that access the RSS Tutorial?
For the first quarter of 2008, people from 113 countries accessed the RSS tutorial. Here is the top 20 countries.
March 31, 2008
What browsers are using used to access the RSS Tutorial?
I was not familiar with two of the browsers and had to look them up.
The second thing of interest is that Firefox has such a high percentage. Firefox is approximately 10% of the Internet Population. It is no surprise that a Technical Tutorial would have a higher percentage for Firefox, but I am surprised it is that high.
March 29, 2008
I like to use tables. I use them in Word frequently. Word Press has a new plugin called wp-table that helps define tables in WordPress. Table can be completely controlled using CSS.
March 26, 2008
I was up late tonight writing PHP code. I have spent many late nights writing code. It is an immensely enjoyable activity.
Tonight was particularly rewarding because the script I wrote automates a process that I do with some regularity.
March 22, 2008
I wrote and maintain an RSS Tutorial. I save RSS articles, products and services into an RSS link blog. Periodically, I review the articles and update the tutorial. I do not claim to be an expert; I wrote the tutorial so that I could learn RSS.
I am going through the update process now. The tutorial was written in 2005.
In 2005, the RSS issue that everyone was writing about was:
In 2008, the issues are different.
March 18, 2008
I gave up on my experiment to backup to my Web Hosting site using an FTP backup. I registered for Mozy and the first long backup has started. It should take 10 days or so.
What I like about Mozy.
I will have some vulnerability for a few days, but then I should be ok again. I do have onsite backups using an external drive.
March 11, 2008
I had a chance today to listen to the recording of Jason Calacanis giving the keynote address at the Affiliate Summit. Then I read the blog posts from those that were there. Jason generated a lot of controversy. That is nothing new. I think there are times when the heat obscures the light Jason shines on a topic.
I pay attention to Jason Calacanis.
Understand that this is not an obsessive following, I just think he is right a good deal of the time. I lived in a major East Coast city before I moved to California, so his style is very familiar.
Here is my little secret. I take what I learn from Jason and use it in my business and with my clients. I have a much different style than Jason, so I am seen as insightful but not controversial. There is of course a downside also; I do not have nearly the publicity. But I am ok with that.
March 9, 2008
I have been working with computers for decades. I remember when the mainframe monitors were so expensive that everyone did not have one. To use a monitor, you went to the monitor area which was typically a table with a row of monitors placed in a line.
To use the monitor, one sat elbow to elbow with other programmers. It was very typical that while you were working, you would share information with the programmer sitting next to you.
It was unplanned but very beneficial to the organization. Soon however, everyone had a monitor on their desk and that sharing stopped. Many of us do not have the opportunity to share techniques with others in that way. Today we use forums, websites, and blogs to share techniques.
Over the last week, I have had the opportunity to work with another technician while we were both working on websites and other Internet projects. There was lots of sharing of techniques and tools. It was a most productive time. I learned a lot, and shared a lot.
It reminded me of the sharing from so long ago. I miss those days.
February 19, 2008
Wordtracker reports on what keywords people are putting into search. I know this is just a sample, but I looked at the top 100 search key phrases from the last 48 hours.
So what are people searching on?
I have looked at the reports at various times, and the percentages stay pretty consistent. The top 500 terms is almost always 50% sexually oriented. It is a tribute to the Internet searchers that they can find 250 search keywords and key phrases to search for sexual content.
February 18, 2008
The work on the hard drives is pretty much done. This is what remains.
February 17, 2008
I am moving files around from the local hard drive to the external hard drive, and from one partition to another on the external drive. There are number of reasons for doing that, and I blogged about that.
Today I am dealing with ramifications.
I will consider moving My documents later today.
February 16, 2008
I am reorganizing the data on my hard drives. I am moving folders and files from the laptop drive to the external drive, and from one partition to another on my external drive. There are several reasons for doing this.
My external drive has three partitions.
I am implementing a new backup scheme.
It takes a couple of weeks to do the initial backup using FTP, so I need to get that started. It took a couple of weeks to do the initial backup using Carbonite, but from then on the incremental backups ran quickly and smoothly.
I will have to rely on the local backup during the brief period before the FTP backup is complete.
February 15, 2008
I receive the standard spam.
The member enlargement spam added a new twist in todays email, explicit before and after photographs. Way too much information as far as I am concerned. My spam filter missed them because with the photos it was “go from this to that”.
I wonder if this signals a new direction for spam. Come to think of it, the pharmaceuticals where already doing it with spam that was just pictures of pills with prices.
Too much information.
Heraclitus is known for his doctrine of change being central to the Universe.
I use the same phrase for computers. When people tell me that the program or service ran yesterday on this computer, I twist the Heraclitus quote and say “you cannot run the program twice on the same computer.” That is because the computer is constantly changing. I am usually talking about a computer running Windows.
And that is just the legitimate sorts of changes. Any of the malicious changes could also have been made to your computer, the network, or the service.
“You cannot run the program twice on the same computer.”
February 13, 2008
The most common complaint that computer service people hear is that someone’s computer is running slowly. Check the following.
That should be a good start, and should help in most cases.
February 8, 2008
I was working with a client today, fixing up her laptop. During the process, the laptop went into a deep freeze (technical term). The screen was black, the keyboard did not respond, and the indicator lights maintained an unusual pattern. I of course turned it off and on repeatedly, but it never truly turned off, and never really turned on, although some of the indicator lights would go off and on.
I made the first of several calls with the appropriate amount of wait time. I was told by several voice mail systems that I could go online to get help, even though I could not get the laptop to work at all. I did voice response to a series of questions that were sometimes difficult to answer, and then I made it to a very nice young man apparently from India.
He was most helpful. I could understand him even though he had a pronounced accent. The solution was as follows:
His explanation was that the computer gets a build up of static electricity. I am not sure I understand the explanation, but the solution was right on. I had never heard of anything like that before. Live and learn.
January 12, 2008
I had a little more time to read my RSS feeds today. It is humbling to read and process the insights of some of the bloggers. It makes me resolve to think and post more aggressively – but not today.
January 11, 2008
I finished the process of converting my website code so that every webpage is PHP.
Because everything has been changed to PHP, I was able to do the following:
Positioned the website to be more dynamic and include more Data Bases.
January 8, 2008
I talked to an associate today who said he thought he should be blogging but did not have enough time. I recommended that he consider Audio Blogging. He is articulate and concise. He travels around during the day, and would have an easier time blogging using his cell phone.
I reviewed what I knew about Audio Blogging, especially using a cell phone, and as always, things have changed. Hipcast is still the one to beat, but it is a paid service. Other services are free. I will look at the services again to get up to date.
January 6, 2008
E-Waste is electronic waste – old computers, monitors, televisions, and peripherals. California has a program to encourage recycling e-waste. E-waste has toxic material and should be kept out of land fills.
Today I took all my old computers and computer gear to be recycled at a www.noewaste.com recycling event. (They are a client.) They are having a 3 day event to collect e-waste. There have been record rains during the weekend.
I took a car load of computer gear collected over many years, including the following.
It felt good to clear it out. Next thing: get rid of the clothes I do not wear.
January 2, 2008
I have been using PHP more and more on my websites. On the Wizard Creek Consulting website, I went through and changed all the webpages from .htm to .php. At the same time I added a bit of PHP code to randomly show photos from a photo directory.
I updated the .htaccess file to do the redirect from the old page to the new page.
As I write this, I wonder if there is a way to specify to PHP to also use .htm files so that files do not have to be renamed. I will investigate that next time. (Apparently, I could have changed the parameters to have PHP parse .htm files as well. That would have worked for me, because I changed every file from .htm to .php.)
But because the files are all new names, the PageRank dropped from 5,4 and 3 to zero. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Google to once again evaluate my website and assign a new PageRank.
I do wonder if I will lose traffic or business. Time will tell.
December 23, 2007
I worked on Enterprise systems for many years.
We started out building stand-alone application systems that did one function. We build payroll systems, accounts payable systems, and inventory systems. Each application had its own data. We typically had the systems communicate by doing exports and imports, where data was exported from one system and imported into another. There were utilities in fact whose whole purpose was to help extract, scrub, sort, and prepare data for import.
The ultimate prize was the Enterprise Resource Planning which was an integrated solution to the entire enterprise. SAP, Oracle and others tried to answer this call.
One of the big benefits of integrated systems was the integrated data base. We spoke of data as being a enterprise resource to be managed at the enterprise level, and not at the department level.
Now, my small company, like many others, seems to be moving back to the original model. I have documents in Google Docs, contacts in GMail, and company profiles in Facebook, MySpace, and Spoke.
Now I want to integrate the data.
December 22, 2007
I have a client that helps recycle e-waste. California has a program to keep topic material found in Monitors and Computers out of the land fills. It is amazing to be at one of the e-waste events where they collect tons of used computers.
December 20, 2007
I once worked with a Database system that had “MAYBE” as an option when doing a query.
A given database field – let us say AGE – had the following two states:
So when doing a query – one could say
I liked using the MAYBE Function.
December 16, 2007
I have a contract with the backup system Carbonite, but I am looking for another alternative. I want software that is as flexible as Carbonite or Data Deposit Box, but I want to back up to an FTP Server.
December 12, 2007
I set up a Mac OS 10 computer with Parallels, the product that allows virtualization.
I loaded a Windows XP virtual machine onto the Mac. It was a very straight forward install. Windows ran very quickly.
The Mac OS was on an Airport Express wireless Lan. Setting the Parallel parms allowed the Windows virtual machine to access the wireless Lan.
I then plugged the printer into the Airport Express unit, and the Mac machine instantly found it. I was not sure how to set it up for the Windows virtual machine, but it appears that the best thing to do is load the Windows version of Bonjure.
It is hard to get away from the Windows mentality of wanting to install and configure everything. With the Windows virtual computer, it is better to change one parm.