April 25, 2012
When I Drive Around In December And Think To Text My East Coast Friends
January 29, 2012
Old Stuff From 2003
I have been going back and clearing out some old dead wood from Ron's Log. This version you are reading extends back to August 2003. A lot of links have died since then, so I'm fixing the ones that can be, deleting the ones that can't. In the process I've come across some items that I guess I included because either the technology was pretty gee-whiz for the time, or the price was impressively low, or both. Here is some of what I found between August and December 2003:
- 4 Gb Microdrive $500 (Microdrives were little hard drives in Compact Flash format). I think they are no longer being manufactured, but you can buy a used 4Gb model for $10. A regular 4 Gb Compact Flash card can be had for as little as $13 now).
- 4 megapixel camera with 10x zoom, $500
- The 40 Gb iPod cost $500. Today it's 160 Gb and costs $250.
- 6 Gb Compact Flash card for $5,000. They don't seem to be selling 6 Gb CF cards these days. You can get 4 Gb or 8 Gb. An 8 Gb card can be had for $15.
- 2 Gb SD cards predicted to be available "soon." Today you can buy 128 Gb SD cards.
- Recommendations for your first digital camera from SiliconValley.com:
- 3 megapixels is enough
- Don't go less than $200
- Upgrade the memory card to at least 256 Mb. Yes, megabytes. You can still buy a 256 Mb SD card for less than $5.
- A 5 megapixel camera was introduced for $400.
- A 20 Gb USB hard drive for $250. Today there are lots of choices in USB hard drives. I found a terabyte drive (1,024 Gb) for $145. It's hard to find one as small as 20 Gb, but I did, and it's $38.
- Google labs unveiled a new experiment they called "Search by Location" which has since become their standard feature "Search Nearby."
- A 20 Gb USB device with a built-in compact flash card reader. The killer feature was that it could output video and jpegs directly to a television. In addition it could simultaneously play MP3s while showing jpegs! Also, you could rotate the jpegs! It came with a remote control so you could use it in presentations. $400. Or you could go up to the 60 Gb model for $600. At the time I thought $400 was incredibly cheap for all this power.
- Kodak announced that it would stop making slide projectors by June 2004, but they had no plans yet to discontinue any slide films.
- A USB-powered "personal vibrator" could be had for £30 in 2003. The link is dead, so I can't say for sure exactly what features this might have included - remote control? Synch to music? A quick Google search turned up one available today with remote control for $11.80.
- Stories of Google's impending IPO in 2004 were circulating. There were estimates the initial value would exceed $15 billion. It turned out to be $27 billion. Today its market capitalization is $205 billion.
- A Pioneer DVR with an 80 Gb hard drive and the ability to burn DVD-R for $1,200.
- A waterproof, 2 megapixel camera for $200.
December 1, 2010
My favourite leak is that US and UK diplomats are shitting bricks about the current state of Pakistan and the fate of its ever growing nuclear arsenal. Oh really? I've been shitting about that since 2003. It's only a shocking revelation because the media never reports it. So when we find out that diplomats have no idea who controls the nukes there, that 100,000 Pakistani personnel are involved in the nuclear program there and the Taliban captured the Swat valley with collusion from Islamacists in the Pakastani military and government, you know that smuggled chunk of highly enriched uranium is gonna go on the market in some scumbag Albanian dive bar very soon.
That should make you shit bricks.
A US city getting glassed by a nuke in an uninspected ship container freely rolled into a US harbor while the TSA searches your granny's tits for a silicon implant bomb. Talk about security theater... It's a story that should be on the front page of every US newspaper everyday. But it isn't. It took a document dump to the world's media to even be elevated to the point of a news story. If that isn't a total failure of popular journalism then I don't know what is.
And a few days ago he wrote about what a Korean war would look like. He says North Korea's ground forces are using the same obsolete equipment that Iraq had in the first Gulf War. He says they have no infrared or night-vision. He doesn't give his sources. He says they even still have 200 Soviet T-34 tanks which he describes as "those legendary beauties that routed the Wehrmacht at Kursk in '43." According to WikiPedia, they were manufactured up until 1958.
The North Korean air forces are all Vietnam war era, he says. OTOH, they do have artillery. His scenario is that North Korea in one first (and last) strike simply throws everything it has at the city of Seoul. Then it sits back behind its incredible defenses. Eventually the North surrenders, but how the surrender goes down depends a lot on China.
October 14, 2010
Ron's Log Comment Policy
I've always had some kind of policy limiting the comments on this blog. The policy has evolved over time, but I've never laid it out for my readers because I'm the only who needs to know it. Sometimes, though, a commenter comes along who thinks I'm running a public service and becomes ruffled when he or she learns otherwise. So here is an outline of the policy that's been unchanged for about the last year or so:
- Comments are welcome and invited.
- Except for spam - and I'm the one who decides if it's spam.
- No hate speech - I don't provide free soapboxes for Nazis, Klan members, the Westboro Baptist Church, or their ilk. I'm the one who decides who is their ilk.
- Anonymous comments are welcome and invited - sometimes the Typepad software may try to get you to be less anonymous, but if you can fib your way through that, it's fine with me.
- Flaming, negative, unconstructive comments are acceptable, but not from anonymous commenters. IOW, if you want to leave a comment like this: "U Can not shine a terd!!! DHS is a piece of shit! The leaders for the City and Water District need to all be recalled and some folks like yourself need to take charge!!" then you will need to make yourself identifiable. I'm the one who decides if you are identifiable. Some people leave comments here using only a single initial and I know who they are and that's totally fine. But for most of you, we need some kind of real name and email address if you want to be a jerk.
- Anonymous comments that are informative, constructive, or basically anything but flaming negativity are fine. I decide where the line between flaming negativity and acceptability lies.
The Desert Sun is your local outlet for anonymous, flaming, negative attacks. They make money on that. I don't and don't want to. If you don't like this policy, talk to the guy who pays the bills.
October 28, 2009
Encyclopedia Britannica Has Blogs!?
Yes, indeedy, Encyclopedia Britannica blogs are just the thing for the faux intellectual who is above all that weblog claptrap, but still wants to read something short and interesting on the web. Other than clear writing, proper grammar and correct spelling, the writing styles on the blogs have no connection with what you would read in the large, bound tomes that we usually associate with the words "Encyclopedia Britannica." It will disappoint many to see that the blog entries are not in alphabetical order.
Sample blogs: The Survival of Books, featuring a 1940 photo of a London library with the books all neatly shelved even after German bombs collapsed the roof.
Body Art, Wallpaper, & More. Sorry, no genuine nudity there.
Careers (Guide To) which links to videos on the subject of careers, such as Abbott and Costello's Who's On First skit, Lucy's Vitameatavegamin skit and the wine vat skit, Barney Fife and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, Monty Python's Bicycle Repairman skit, and several others that can be useful for those considering a career change during this economic downturn.
October 26, 2009
What I'm Doing Here, Take 2
I thought that maybe, after a couple of comments directed my way, I needed to go back and expand on my earlier post What I'm Doing Here, but after re-reading what I wrote last December I see it is not necessary. Any reader who imagines that I'm pretending to be something like a newspaper-neutral journalist needs to keep his or her imagination in check.
The role I want in city council meetings is to be the citizen who comes in and listens and pays attention. I don't try to go digging before or after meetings to find out dirt or ulterior motives. I'm never going to be a candidate for any position. But I don't pretend to be neutral. No thinking person should be completely neutral. But I think my bias is in favor of clarity and common sense (plus I have a hardon for the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment). I come home from the meetings jazzed up enough that I want to write about them, so write about them I do - while the thoughts are still fresh.
Or, as "b" wrote, "You've done what my grandfather said was his destiny: to retire, get a big wide white belt hitched up above his belly button, and complain about the gummint full time."
October 25, 2009
Blogging Is About To Go Way, Way Too Far
Charmin will be interviewing on November 5, hoping to hire five people to be bathroom attendants. But instead of a little platter of loose change, Charmin will pay $10,000 each, just to work from November 23 through December 31 in the Charmin Restrooms in Times Square. And they have to blog about the experience!
Yes, imagine that you need a paper towel or a breath mint, but the damned bathroom attendant is over in the corner typing away at a keyboard, blogging about the drunk that came in before you. This is why they will be paid, because they certainly won't be able to depend on tips.
Next possibility: a surgical nurse who blogs from the operating room.
August 26, 2009
Ron's Log is experiencing a brief surge of traffic as people search for images using the term topless day. Topless day was last Saturday, but a year ago I linked to a Burning Man photo that I thought was appropriate for topless day, and (as I write this) that is the number #2 image to come up on that Google search. Warning, there are tits in that link.
Just before that I got a surge of traffic from people searching for "forest lawn" glendale map where my scan of one of the cemetery's free hand-out maps is at the #5 position on Google. Ya just never know where your traffic is going to come from - but if you're putting money into it "tits" always pays off. Other related key words should be obvious.
January 24, 2009
Almost The Non-Internet Blog
The Printed Blog plans to put blog content from various sources into the familiar and comfortable form of a paper newspaper you can spread across the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. They say they will start printing this coming Tuesday. They will publish TWICE DAILY! And it will also be available as a PDF online. But where and how to get that paper copy, you ask.
We will be handing out the first hour issues in three primary locations, two "el" stops in Lincoln Park (Belmont and Fullerton Red Lines) in Chicago and at a to-be-determined BART station in San Francisco. It's also likely that we'll hand out several hundred copies to individuals at other organizations, including Chicago-based colleges. The demographics of the readers in Lincoln Park who take the morning "el" trains are men and women between the ages of 22 and 30, generally professional types, who like to have fun.
December 31, 2008
Green Path North Category
I've added a new Green Path North category for Ron's Log postings, since I expect this subject will be continuing for a long time.
December 20, 2008
What I'm Doing Here
After 8 or 9 years of writing Ron's Log, is it time for a Mission Statement? No. And nobody's ever asked (at least not that I recall) why I write Ron's Log. But has lack of reader interest ever deterred me?
Before the turn of the century, I would write long letters to friends, but each of those letters would reach only one person, and how interested they might have been in the subjects in my long letters is up to question. With a weblog, though, I could spew to my heart's content and my friends could choose to tune in (or not) as they pleased, to read or skip any subject. And, as I've learned over time, some friends do read Ron's Log and others don't, which is okay. Those who don't read Ron's Log, however, do not get long verbal updates to make up for their finnicky reading habits.
My primary audience, though, is me. If I find a post to be interesting enough and well written enough for me, then it's good. Occasionally I'll find myself looking at an old post of mine that I'd forgotten, and find it still enjoyable to read. And that makes me happy. Not too different from masturbation that way.
I've looked at those sites that advise on how get a big readership on a blog, and they are mostly correct. I could restrict myself to one or two subjects; write shorter posts; make it all G-Rated (or go for all nudity all the time), and get more readership. But big readership has never been my goal. OTOH, it is nice to know that people do read Ron's Log, thereby confirming that my tenuous grip on reality hasn't broken yet, and that most of my sentences remain readable.
My summaries of DHS city council meetings started last year. I think this report represents the first time I actually attended a city council meeting. That was the special meeting immediately after the termination of Ann Marie Gallant. Prior to that I tried to follow along by watching the city council meetings on TV and reading local sources for news. But the audio from the meetings on TV was poor and unreliable and local news sources weren't much better. The Desert Sun's reports were brief, incomplete and sometimes obviously incorrect. Other local sources tended to be heavily biased, very incomplete, and sometimes just plain unclear.
It probably happens in all small cities, but my experiences are limited so I can only confirm that it goes on in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs: that is, people tend to deal in first names only, and refer to local places and projects by short nicknames. The result (possibly somewhat intentional) is that newcomers are mystified. Who's "Bill?" "Jim?" Where's "Palmwood?" Rarely was anything spelled out clearly, and Google doesn't help much in a small media market like ours.
When the Ann Marie Gallant debacle happend, it became obvious to me that the only way I could know what was going on was to go to city council meetings myself. I needed to see if, when the TV cameras turned away, did a giant green slime monster come up behind the dais and mindmeld with the members of the city council? What else could explain their behaviors?
I continued to go to the city council meetings and expanded my descriptions of them for a few reasons. One was certainly that I needed to stay informed to help protect my home, but another was that it became a civics lesson for me. Native Californians may see the system of government here as completely natural and logical, but it's about 180° around from what I was used to in Boston. California government is much more complex and contradictory than anything in New England. But after attending more meetings, asking a few questions, and Googling a lot, it all began to make some sense - in a twisted California kind of way.
One thing that keeps my interest high enough to motivate me to keep attending city council meetings is that they have story arcs that are structured just like soap operas. Some things come up and are dealt with in only one meeting. Others have a life of a few months. And yet more items have lifecycles in years. That Jerry Hanson story is still hanging unresolved, you will recall.
At first, attending the city council meetings was like the first time I tried to watch "All My Children." I hardly knew any of the characters or what motivated their strange behaviors. What mysterious, dark relationships of the past were coloring their decisions today? And without cheezy background music to clue me in to the plot twisting moments, I was sometimes lost.
But with no more than my eyes and ears, and Google, and a few questions to resolve confusion, I've figured out how to follow along. And that's all I do. The role I want in city council meetings is to be the citizen who comes in and listens and pays attention. I don't try to go digging before or after meetings to find out dirt or ulterior motives. I'm never going to be a candidate for any position. But I don't pretend to be neutral. No thinking person should be completely neutral. But I think my bias is in favor of clarity and common sense (plus I have a hardon for the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment). I come home from the meetings jazzed up enough that I want to write about them, so write about them I do - while the thoughts are still fresh.
I try to give full names and descriptions in my city write-ups to (A) make it easier for other newcomers, (B) satisfy the great Google gods, and (C) make it easier for me to recall and relocate what I've written.
December 8, 2008
Andrew Sullivan on Blogging
Keith Matheny suggests Andrew Sullivan's article in The Atlantic which he has titled "Why I Blog" but uses a lot of space to tell us what blogs are or ought to be. But he does conclude optimistically:
In fact, for all the intense gloom surrounding the news-paper and magazine business, this is actually a golden era for journalism. The blogosphere has added a whole new idiom to the act of writing and has introduced an entirely new generation to nonfiction. It has enabled writers to write out loud in ways never seen or understood before. And yet it has exposed a hunger and need for traditional writing that, in the age of television’s dominance, had seemed on the wane.
Words, of all sorts, have never seemed so now.
My first weblog posting is still available if you go here and scroll to the bottom. (I didn't create permalinks for every posting then.) It was a dig at Microsoft.
December 5, 2008
Friend Andy (the one in NYC) emailed me that Ariana Huffington had been on The Daily Show a couple of nights ago talking about blogging and he enjoyed it and suggested I seek it out. I watched the whole episode on the official Daily Show website, liked it, wrote back to him saying that if I could find a link to just that part of the episode I could blog about that so others could watch her talk about a book she didn't write about blogging and maybe someone would go read an excerpt of the book on-line (or not) and then come here and leave a comment. Found it. On Jossip, a blog, even better.
Done and done, LOL.
P.S. I'm going to have find a secret passion to add to Ron's Log.
August 16, 2008
I didn't know that Blogging was so much fun but relaxing!
When I went to the class for blogging, I didn't even know what blogging was. Just then when we were taught what the word meant I had to give it a try. You can have a good day or a bad day and when you set down at your computer and start blogging, you are able to put down what ever you feel like putting down, how you felt, what happened that day. I myself find it relaxing to put how I feel after a stressful day. I will continue to blog because it helps me deal with what's going on in my life.
Denise ( Assistant )
A class for blogging?! I could teach that. Gimme $200 and I'll make some shit up.
August 13, 2008
I usually don't bother to correct people when they refer to this is "Ron's Blog," but I'm going to have to be stricter in the future. There is a Ron's Blog (or more correctly, "roN's Blog") written by a 15-year old Aaron whose writing style varies pretty widely. Monday's entry:
Cool or Pity?
Today,I don't know what is going on and guess what?
I was picked as class monitor and I don't really wanna be, but teacher is explain and said til so good to be a monitor, I'm like what are you talking about? Is like after every math equation, she keep turning to me and said teacher give you chance because teacher trust you and surely you are good and whatever~~all my brothers kept shouting my name, like fighting and one of them even worst because I asked some of them to attend our IGNITE youth service this coming Saturday and the Muka Head so he said if you be the monitor I will go. Wah!! =.=
after school, I went back to my grandmother's house and I started to study, suddenly the table corrupted, mean no table for me to study, okay fine I used bed, even worst by using that, I slept til Chiaming called me. Ended up, I'm here blogging my grandmother story.
Monday~~~~~~~~will be a good day =)
The third hit is my old weblog. The fourth and fifth hits are my Flickr and Ipernity sites, respectively. So if you're not finding Ron's Log, you're spelling it wrong. If you drop the apostrophe, Google suggests it. If you run it all together as "ronslog" I still come up as the first two hits. If you're using something other than Google to search, then God help you, you're on your own.
August 5, 2008
Blogging City Council Meetings
Dana Parsons who doesn't read much, I guess, has a column in the L.A. Times in which he imagines what it might be like in the future when webloggers start writing up smart-ass commentaries on city council meeting. Ooh, just imagine. I'm outta here on my jetpack.
July 15, 2008
Link Whoring, Or Lying Down With Dogs
Noticing an unusual number of incoming links from CNN.com today (actually, I don't think I've ever had an incoming link from CNN.com before) I went to investigate. If you go to this story at CNN.com about Susan Atkins, scroll down to the headline "From The Blogs" and click that, it will eventually open up and show you three links...or that's what it does right now. It's probably dynamic, so who knows what it will show by the time you get to it. The three links currently shown are one to a religious blog hosted at the Dallas Morning News, another to a an AP report in a Texas newspaper that has been "serving the Texas Hill Country since 1910," and, finally, a link to Ron's Log. This linkage on the CNN.com page is provided by Sphere which is a service that I'm sure CNN pays for. I hope they don't pay much. It's hard to believe that I represent the opinions of all the webloggers in California, while the remainder of the entire universe of opinon on Susan Atkins is represented by a couple of equally obscure sites in Texas, of all places.
Nonetheless, I am going to try to figure out how I did it and see if it can be repeated. This was a sort of second tier story and I wrote my post a little after midnight. Maybe those are key facts.
May 17, 2008
Not Gay Blog
Someone has started up a blog on the Desert Sun site and called it Everything NOT Gay About The Desert. Subtitle: Sick of the Gay Agenda being forced on you? Not here.
So far he's got two entries and talks about gay people in both. In his first entry he says it is "not intended as a Hate Blog against Gays." But he also says it's "a place where we dont have to have all the Gay agenda's and opinions forced on us." Anybody who seriously believes there's a "gay agenda" is reasoning about as well as someone who believes there's a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
I'm sure it's only coincidental that for his icon the blogger has chosen a photo of a sign carried by someone with the Westboro Baptist Church. It says "1 Man 1 Woman 4 Life" with some smaller text I can't make out, possibly references to scripture.
In his second entry he says he has deleted and will continue to delete any comments from gay people. He doesn't say how he knows which commenters are gay, but I think we all know the best way to know who's gay. He goes on again to say it's not an anti-gay blog. He even says he's writing his first real entry. It's not a good sign when a blogger blogs to say he's writing his blog. Too meta for most people.
May 15, 2008
Who Makes Up These Lists?
There are so many lists on the web that somebody needs to come up with a list of the lists you can't live without, or a list of the stupidest lists on the net. That's my idea, but you can go do it and make your own money.
You know what you'll find at any of those lists, if they are actually readable: you'll agree with some of the selections, disagree with a few, and maybe find one or two new things. So I thought it was unusual that in the last few days I've run across three lists that miss their mark more than expected:
60 Photography Links You Can’t Live Without was the first. I'm vain enough to think I know something about photography and I've got my favorite websites for that subject, so I was surprised to run down that list and see that it was almost entirely sites that I had not heard of or I consider unhelpful. Consider that he lists Flickr Blog (which I find unhelpful) and a list of Flickr plug-ins, but never lists Flickr itself. He didn't originally list Digital Photography Review, but added it later. He also fails to list Steve's Digicams which I find much more useful than Digital Photography Review (which relies a bit too heavily on corporate press releases, I think). He also doesn't list B & H Photo or any other good camera retailer. If you rely on Wal-Mart for your photography equipment your choices may be limited.
Second is 10 Items You Think Make You Cool, But Don't which could be a fun read, except he lists 9 things that nobody with more than three brain cells thinks makes them cool — talking on a cellphone?! The one point I might disagree with is on the "tricked out bicycles." Depends on your age and whether you did the tricking out yourself or just bought it.
Last is this list of 6 gas-saving myths. Would be informative if anyone actually believed any of those myths. Oh, yeah, there could be some old gray heads out there who rent a car once a year who might believe one or two of these, but I think any driver has already worked past them.
There you have it, my list of lists to avoid.
April 25, 2008
CBS News All Palsy-Walsy With Castro Brothers
In an article purporting to be about web access and weblogging from Cuba, CBS News tells us that ordinary citizens of Cuba gained the right to own a computer only a month ago. They still, however, do not have unfettered access to the internet. So some brave Cubans slip into foreign hotels and internet cafes where they can buy a few hours of internet access to write their weblogs -- or maybe they post bad music videos to YouTube.
The article talks about a couple of weblogs, and I thought they were being like so many other uppity We-Are-Journalists-Not-Webloggers news sites (hey, I never mentioned the Desert Sun) when they did not mention the URLs for the weblogs of those Cubans who are risking everything by speaking out. It did seem to be some really special English-language chauvinism, however, that made them translate the titles of the weblogs into English, complicating the search process.
But then they happily laid out the link for a PRO-Cuban government forum based in Spain. Why, if I were one of those vicious rightwing bloggers I might say CBS News was nothing more than a bunch of cowardly, communist lickspittles, but somebody probably already said that.
Fortunately, Ron's Log is no coward, although I bet I could be persuaded to lick the spittle of some communists, if they were hot enough. Anyway, "Generation Y" by Yoani Sanchez is actually available in both an English language version (no update since March 5) and a Spanish version called Generacion Y, which seems to be current.
The so-called "Without Evasion" is really sin EVAsión.
I can't find anything on the "Petrosalvaje" site they mention.