Category Archives: general

Internet Tools and Blogging

You may have recently noticed a couple of blog entries that looked a bit different then usual. I was testing a web tool called Clipper, which allows me to clip parts of another website or blog post that I find interesting and then post those clips, here. The few times I had tested it, I got an error message stating that the post had failed, but I never got around to following up on the tests. Well, last night I was asked about an entry that I thought had not been made, but it was in fact sitting in the blog!

“Cool,” I thought (at first).

So I tried another entry. That produced the same error message, but something was still posted. This process is a pain, but there was enough benefit that I thought I could work with it. Well, not so much. The entries weren’t formatted right, and when I tried to change them, the system crashed, and blah, blah, blah (insert technobabble). So, I deleted those entries and will shortly repost them in my usual (more time intensive) format.

I generally track over 150 blogs (not as intense as it sounds, and real blog-hounds track quite a bit more). A lot of the postings catch my interest, and I’d like to note those that fit my eclectic interests and dilettante lifestyle. I’ll still be making manual posts about those items and providing links to the information source. Those kinds posts serve as an annotated reference/bookmark tool which I can organize by tags.

Travel Web Sites

my-area.gifAs we are preparing for our trip, I decided to note some web sites with useful travel tools. That way if anyone (nieces & nephews) ends up traveling outside of the country for the first time, they (nieces & nephews) will have a few references to get started. Whomever they (nieces & nephews) might be.

A time zone converter can be found at:

The Time Zone Converter:
The World Clock:

Singapore and Malaysia are 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time.
For currency exchange, we use Oanda to create a cheat sheet that we carry with us:

Oanda Cheat Sheet:

The Singapore Dollar (S$) converts as

  • S$1.00=US$0.64
  • US$1.00=S$1.56

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) converts as

  • US$1.00=MYR3.63
  • MYR1.00=US$0.27

Finally, the power adapter site we use is:

Electricity Around The World:

Singapore and Malaysia are both 230V, 50 Hz and use the English power plug (rectangular blade)

Our next entry will be from the road!

Power Surge Nightmare

Okay, we’re back on-line now. This has been a long and rather hell-ish day. We’re not hurt; we’ve just had our internet and computer dependent worlds knocked about.

Last night, at abut 3:00 am, Harriet was awaken by a loud “pop.” She got up to see if something had fallen downstairs, and when she turned on a light, it burned out with a loud “pop” of its own. She tried one other light, and it popped also. That woke me up, and we realized that something was wrong with the power. I have a voltmeter, and we were seeing 238 V on the outlets (they should be 110 to 120 V). So, I cut all the circuit breakers.

I called Edison, and they had a guy here about 4:30 am. Apparently, you can have a neutral line break in a way that the two phases in the power line can add across the outlets, turning your lines to 2x normal. After some tests, he suspected a tree had broken the line outside the house. A tree crew (contracted by Edison) arrived about 8:30 am and cut some branches away from a power pole, enough to allow access. The Edison crew arrived about 10:30 and began rewiring the section that had been damaged, and by about 12:30 pm we had the power restored.

Then began the inventory of things that have blown out. Oddly, the major appliances and the video electronics are all OK. It’s Harriet’s computer, my computer, the phone recording machine, and a lot of the smaller electronics that are burned out.

We’re in the process of trying to recover. Harriet’s business is completely tied up in that computer. So far, we’ve been able to move the hard drive into another, older machine she has for backup, and now she’s trying to get enough of it functioning so she can work. Steve and Krista have been real champions with helping her get a system working. We owe them, BIG.

I have an older machine that I’ve got running enough to access the internet, hence this update. I can get to my email through the browser, I’m just not able to access the stuff on my main computer. I ordered a new power supply on-line (yay!), so we’re making progress. We’ll see how far along we are before we leave on our trip NEXT MONDAY! Ouch.

The good news is that this didn’t happen while we were gone, and since it appears to have happened out of the residence (and maybe off of our property), Edison has some liability. We’ll be filing claims before we depart.

Hawk At The Beach

Hawk BeachBefore the big power blow-out, I was working on this post. It’s a bit out of data. Actually, I’ve probably missed several updates, but since this is already on-line, and the pictures are pretty cool, I’ll go ahead and finish it.

Hawk CloseA couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch this hawk as it was hanging out at the cliffs in Santa Barbara. I was taking a walk at Shoreline Park with my camera, and I was able to get a few shots. The bird seemed happy to hang out until I tried to move into a better position. I think it got bored at that point and flew off.

Here’s a close up of the hawk. I was pretty pleased with the detail.

I really appreciate this bird’s patience since I’m

  1. slow
  2. not a very good photographer and
  3. usually oblivious to these sorts of things

But, all in all, it came out rather nicely.

Santa Barbara Sunset, October 12, 2006

SB SunsetOn Thursday, the weather changed and a storm was predicted to move in. Well, that evening we had a spectacular sunset. I know that I don’t spend enough time appreciating the Santa Barbara views, but that evening I found myself with a large crowd at Shoreline Park, gawking and trying in some small way to capture it all.

SB Sunset 2 I’m no photographer, but I really didn’t need to be. The colors and textures just laid themselves out, begging to be recorded.

The irony is, we barely got a spritz from this storm. Just North of us, they received a good soaking, and I believe the storm hit south of us, also. For some reason it jumped by the Santa Barbara City area, lingering just long and low enough to give us some nice views.

And I just happened to have a camera in the car.