Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Brooklyn Eaglet

This was the name of our “family newspaper” when I was a kid. I remember there was initially a contest to name the paper, confidently published by my older sister and me on our two typewriters with copious amounts of carbon paper. The second-place finisher was “The Clinton Hill-Eaglet” as I recall, but that was difficult to pronounce and lacked the panache of the winning entry. This moniker was an affectionate nod to its famous ancestor, the Brooklyn Eagle first published when Brooklyn was still an independent city in 1841. It went out of business for certain in 1955 so in many ways, The Brooklyn Eaglet could be considered the direct offspring. According to Wikipedia, there is a new claimant as the successor, published since 1955 as The Brooklyn Daily Bulletin. But that does not count.

The Brooklyn Eaglet was the true successor, published just blocks away from the site of the original location on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights. Being that we lived on Clinton Avenue, in the Clinton Hill/Ft. Green section of Brooklyn (hence the name referenced above), it was indeed fitting and proper that we be the true heirs.

Presently, I can’t give you the exact years, dates or further descriptions of our tabloid. Thanks in part to a doting Aunt Anna who, like me, never threw anything away, we were able to recover at least some of the issues. The one I have in my hand is the “Summer Special” published in June-July, 1970. I would have just graduated from Bishop Loughlin MHS, and indeed the lead story is about the various family members’ graduations that year.

Of more interest is the volume number – Vol. 7 - in the heading suggesting that the original issue was published by my sister and me sometime around 1963 – me being the ripe old age of 10. This fits with my recollections. Although the Eaglet was my sister’s idea, I, having already mastered the two-finger typing technique that would serve me for years, was eager to use my newfound skills to greater ends. I guess the reason why the writing of blogs and endless newsletters for the past 30 years comes with such ease is related to this early training. I might add that even at ten I was probably a bit overbearing and insisted on being the one to script the front page complete with its hand-written banner and logo.

But that’s not why I am writing today, though I promise I will return to the Brooklyn Eaglet to fill you all in on dirty details. No, the reason for today’s muse is due to a Portland Press Herald article about the real thing – real eaglets – Maine eaglets.

According to the PPH, Maine is now home to three fuzzy little birds, the children of Mama and Papa Eagle nesting 70 feet up atop a white pine tree somewhere in Hancock County. While having eaglets in Maine at this time of the year is no surprise (we do celebrate the fact that the breed is returning from almost extinction due to the DDT poisoning of the 1960’s and prospering all over the state), what is of merit is the fact that these critters can be seen live on the Internet. The Maine Eaglet Cam may be found on the website of the BioDiversity Research Institute. And making this apparently an even more significant and rare event is the fact that there are triplets. Yup, that’s right – three eaglets.

So check it out. And make sure you take a look at the archived images – lots of beauty there.

And, stay tuned for more about the Brooklyn Eaglet.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Moving Too Fast

Okay, who knows what "mwah" means?

As luck would have it, I found this expression on two blogs, back-to-back. Two completely unrelated blogs, different topics, authors, etc. So what could this mean? I could not figure it out given the context of the use of the term.

So I googled it.

Here is the Urban Dictionary's entry.

I know, I know, every one knows this except me.

Ugh, the world's moving too fast...


Sitting on Sugar Cubes

Found this photo on David Weinberger's blog referencing the Milliken Global Conference taking place this week. Weinberg was one of six panelists discussing "Blogs, Wikis, MMORPGs, and YASNS: Shaking Up Traditional Education". Yes, I admit, I had to look up those two acronyms. But at I least I knew what they were after I found out what they meant.

Anyway, this image was at a exhibit set up AOL. I have to confess it appeared a bit creepy to me. Somehow it reminded me of the 5,000 Fingers of Doctor T. I still have nightmares from seeing that on the Point O'Woods Beach 45 years ago.

See full version of photo on Flickr


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Kicked the Bucket

I spent this week trying to nurse my HP Pavilion back to good health. She started getting sick about two months ago with a boot error telling me there was something wrong with the hard drive. This is the same hard drive that I had replaced only 10 month earlier. I was convinced, despite the obvious symptoms that it was anything but a bad drive.

One techie told me he thought it might be “flaky memory” sticks. Another thought it might be a bad IDE cable. No one wanted to believe that this pretty new Maxtor hard drive installed in April 2005 could have been the culprit. But it was.

Well many hours of nursing, diagnosis and some procrastination, the drive ultimately gave up the ghost this past week. In the end, there were almost continuous lost data files, reboots with CHKDSK, and ultimately WinXP could no longer move files or delete files when asked – except in Safe Mode or using the DOS command function. In the end, I was desperately trying to save my contacts and backup from Outlook before she died. I was successful doing this from the command line. Trying to remember the DOS line command for changing directories was interesting. In the end, the creature was vibrating terribly and making a groaning sound when it started and stopped. I was inclined to take a hammer and put her out of her misery.

To play it safe, I replaced all of the RAM sticks as well as the hard drive – this time with a Seagate, the same model that the box came with. I am hoping for better luck this time. Fortunately, the new Circuit City located here in Augusta had all of this on the shelf.

The fun, of course, comes with the re-installation of the o/s and all of the programs and data files. Last year when this first happened, I smartly invested in an external hard drive to use as a back up, so the data files were easy. But it still took about nine hours to install, update and set up the o/s and all of the programs. Downloading and recreating local versions of all my websites and getting all of the settings the way I want them, will take even longer. I guess the next step is to look into creating the ability to create an image file of the whole hard drive and keep that somewhere for when this hard drive dies.

Life marches on!

Happy Earth Day

Those of us who spend a good deal of our time in cyberspace may have missed the fact that this weekend marked the 26th anniversary of Earth Day. Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the first Earth Day in 1970. I was a senior in high school and we had celebrated by having a special schedule that day that included shortened classes and a rock concert in the auditorium for most of the afternoon. I did the light show. Seems like yesterday.
Anyway, PC Magazine had a good tip this week regarding conserving power when your beast is not operating. Seems they make some pretty smart power strips these days. Check it out.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

TV Wars

You may have seen the full page ads in the Portland Press Herald this past week and wondered why someone would spend large amounts of money to apparently attack the Cable TV industry. So, who are the people behind these ads which ask, "How much did you 'tip' your cable TV company every month?"

Let's find out.

I for one am outraged at the cost of cable in my town of Augusta, ME, especially given the atrocious service and almost annual fee increases. BTW, I am now paying $75 per month for the pleasure of having digital basic. No internet, no premium channels, no "TiVo" - basically broadcast, about 200 garbage channels and "nothing on..." When I started this level of service about five years ago, the price was around $60 per month, about $10 more than the previous, non-digital service. And there has been no positive change in the service. If anything, there are now fewer choices (see my previous rant). Oh, wait a second, we now have "On Demand" which lets me watch repeats from DIY whenever I want.

The people behind the full page ad are calling themselves TV4US and have a website at . Apparently was being used by a German company that sells kiosks.

A little snooping and I found an article in The Hill - "the newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress." In their article, Phone Companies Battle for TV Access it looks like the telephone companies may be behind this, at least in part:

The effort by the major telephone companies to pump television programming into consumers' homes over the companies' own networks has become a politicized issue for lawmakers facing reelection.

TV4US, a coalition of 30 companies and interest groups led by AT&T and the National Association of Manufacturers, is pressing selected members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to support franchising legislation.

The article goes on to point out that there is a movement afoot in Congress to pass legislation to allow the telcos access to this effort by revising FCC regulations written in the 1960s at the beginning of the Cable TV industry. The article suggests an uphill climb for similar efforts in the 1990 failed.

Few lobbyists expect Congress to pass legislation this year because the franchising issue forces lawmakers to choose between the cable and telephone industries, picking winners and losers. But postponing a choice lets lawmakers play the cable and telephone industries off each other to rake in campaign contributions, some on K Street suggest.

Given the intensity of the rivalry between the industries, a telecom lobbyist said, the scenario is "a dream match-up" for lawmakers' fundraising.

"They can milk this through the year," he said. "It's the oldest parlor game in D.C. to play industries with deep pockets against each other."

But a new bill may have more success since there are several states where reform has already taken place.

We'll be watching