Sunday, October 25, 2009

New ISP In Use...

This is today's final blog post... I promise.

As mentioned a while back, I was moving my web site to a new ISP.  That's done, and it seems to be working.  In fact I've moved 3 sites to the new ISP.  I'm not going to give the name away just yet since I don't honestly know if I will like them yet or not.  If I do, I'll share that information here later.  If not, I'll get to move again at some point.  That'll be barrels of fun, let me tell you.

There are still a few back end nits on the website that aren't working, but nothing that should be visible to anyone reading this blog post.  Still, if you find something out of place or that doesn't work please let me know.

Oh, wait.  The contact form doesn't work yet, I'll bet.  That's the first thing I need to fix.  Whee.

Anyway, the website can be found at the old URL:  or the new one:  Either should take you to exactly the same content.

Thanks in advance for any bug reports!

I Don't Twitter Part II

In a post from some time back (July 31, 2000, in fact) I said that I don't use (or much appreciate) Twitter. I got quite a few comments at the time, and a long response from Paul some time later.

Paul's points are well taken - you can read them here yourself - but I continue to be frustrated by both Facebook and Twitter. Of course discussing that frustration in a blog post probably isn't all that original. Or intelligent.

I'm still considering shutting down my Facebook account.  The only reason I don't is that it does - as Paul suggests - keep me somewhat up to date on the lives of friends that I otherwise would lose touch with completely.  That may be more important For Paul than me, being as he's separated from so many by an ocean.  To me it's only something nice to have, not something critical to my life.

Some time back - after the July post that started this - I began using FB's new "lite" user interface:  It's not perfect but it has greatly reduced the distractions that come with the standard FB site.  That's helped somewhat, and is probably the reason I haven't left Facebook for good.  Time will tell if it's enough, or if they change it to enable the silly applications and things that only annoyed me.  My take on FB is still evolving.

Twitter, however, has proven less useful to me every time I am exposed to it.  Paul's comments on it are quite good, but let me give you a counter example.  Today's Loma Fire near my home lead to some digging on the web for information.  Some places had links to Twitter, and eventually I chased them, mostly to see if there was anything useful out there.  Eventually I found the keyword #loma that seems to be related to tweets about the fire.

And what do you suppose I found there?  Not much, actually.  Chase the link to see it yourself, assuming it's still valid.  It was mostly (lots of) repeats of information it was simpler to find in other places, like the official CalFire site and local news organizations.  There were a few comments and a couple links to pictures too, but nothing all that useful or interesting.  That said, about the sixth time I read "Problem: water and lunches are 3 hours late" though, I was starting to wonder.

In any case it turned out to be essentially useless, and this was a real time case where Twitter is supposed to stand out.  It didn't.

Going back to my premise, if someone wants to pontificate about what they are eating or where they are traveling, etc. in a medium like Twitter or FB, I'm pretty sure I'd rather not know.  If that same someone wants to make a cohesive narrative out of that part of their life, that's great.  Such things are called many things: articles, blog posts, short stories, even books.  A series of tweets, however, is not remotely cohesive, at least not to me, and without the context from one to another I feel as if I am watching a feature length film by viewing only every 10,000th frame.

So, for now, my opinion on Twitter stands: I don't get it, and I don't find it useful - or interesting - when I am exposed to it.  Facebook may get a pass, or not.  I reserve judgement for now, but only thanks to the new lite UI.

May your experiences be better.

Blog News...

The next bit of news... I've got twins.  Well, not really, but it sounded good.

What is going on is that I've decided to create a second blog.  It will focus solely on my artwork (when I have any time to do any artwork) and related things.  Anyone who's subscribed to The Powell Triangle (or just winds up here on occasion) specifically for news about art can now look here instead:  There you'll find whatever I have to say about art - my own (mostly) - as it comes up.  It's still very much in its infancy - it's not even formatted properly yet, and my website doesn't even link to it at this point - but it is coming.

The Powell Triangle will continue in the same way it has, with me telling you about fires in my area, announcing weather events that seem out of place, spouting off half baked opinions about things political (and non-political), and generally chewing up disk space and Internet bandwidth to little or no gain.

You may want to revise your RSS subscriptions accordingly, depending on exactly what you do and do not want to hear from me.

Finally, both of these blogs have comments enabled but moderated.  In the past it has been the case that I didn't moderate comments in this blog, but I've decided I should do so.  It's not like I'm so popular that I get many spam comments, but it seems better to avoid them up front than to delete them after the fact.  So now your comments have to be read and approved by me before they're posted.  I apologize now for any delays and/or mistakes on my part in dealing with your input.

That's the blog news this time around.  Thanks for your attention!

Another Fire Near My Home

Despite over 13 inches of rain just a bit over a week ago, fire season is definitely not over. Very early this morning a fire broke out near the site of the Summit Fire that caused so much grief and damage last year.

As of this writing the fire is listed at 800 acres in size and either 0% or 5% contained, depending on the source you're reading. The local school just a mile or two north of us is being used as a helipad, so we've had a constant stream of helicopters landing and taking off there all afternoon.

Like last year, the fire is east of us by a few miles. Based on the smoke I can see, the prevailing winds are blowing south, also like last time. However, unlike last time, I've seen written reports that the first is moving west. If it is doing so it is moving slowly, and it's happening because of terrain, not wind. Still, west is towards us, and those reports have me slightly worried.

The bigger worry, though, is wind. I've got an email from the weather service saying the entire bay area is going under a high wind watch on Monday night. They're expecting northerly winds of some speed. That would not drive the fire towards our home, but it would be nasty for those in the path and those working the blaze.

In any case Anne and I are just fine at the moment, and we're keeping a careful eye on things. If I was responding with the VFD I'd probably be at the station, ready to respond to any other incidents that come up, though it is possible I'd be on the fire line itself. When the pager goes off at 3:30am you do what you're told, and I have no way of predicting exactly where I'd be.

For those wanting more information, the best sources of news I've found so far appear to be:


The former appears to be updated more often, but isn't official. The latter is definitely official, but only gets updated once or twice a day.

This one is called the Loma Fire. If I get any major news about it I'll share it here. Hopefully, though, things are under control relatively quickly and things get back to normal.

Several Posts Coming Today...

Thanks to various events I have several things to write about. Each is going to go into its own separate post, so be prepared to read a few things over the next few hours. And thank you for doing so!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing is simple...

The title says it all.

I wanted to replace the filters in my reverse osmosis unit, but what I got from the store wasn't the right ones. Another trip back tomorrow.

And now I am going through moving my website to a new hosting service. So far it's going just fine, but I expect there will be a lot of rework as part of the move. Whee.

For the moment I am moving my blog back to to publishing directly on google, just to get make the migration to a new host easier. I might move it to my new host later, but then again maybe not.

In any event, you can be sure - since I am doing it - that nothing will go smoothly during all of this. Not much has gone smoothly at all lately, which partly explains why posts have been so few and far between here. Something will have to give at some point, but for now I just cover my head and try to hold on.

In the meantime, it's back to the old hosting provider where I will attempt to put redirects into place for my old blog so it can still be found by anyone searching for it. Then, once that is done, I can try moving the site to the new host.

Fun. Or something vaguely like it.