What's New? 2001-01-15

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What's New? 2001-01-15

 Wednesday 31 January 2001
  We drove Pamela to the San Francisco International Airport today; to the international terminal. What a let-down. For all the money they spent on this huge, hanger-like building they could have come up with a more pleasant, integrated experience. What the wound up with is six or eight parallel check-in counters in a building with one side facing the afternoon sun (always too bright and with no view) and the other side covered in wood panelling (covering the office space, of course that's the side with the view of the bay and the airport...). Several stores and eateries are scatteried around the perimeter, but in no easy-to-spot way. Access to and from the central area (for example, from the parking garage) are not well marked at all, and each section (the terribly slow slidewalks, the check-in area, and the junction between them) is a completely different design, with no common architectural elements. It's almost as though they farmed every part to a different design and construction firm. Sloppy, and dissapointing. Sigh.
 Tuesday 30 January 2001
  I've been steadily working through the "Add Me" folder. I found some earlier Huckleberry Hike photos. I'm pleased at how much of these past trips I've been able get onto the web site. (But there's more, much more, on the way.)
Point Reyes
In 1998 Rose and I returned to Point Reyes (on the California coast, a few miles north of San Francisco) for the annual Huckleberry Hike. What a pleasure! We hiked the Bear Valley trails to Mt. Wittenberg's summit, and then made a long loop back to the trailhead, all the while picking the ripe huckleberries. At the picnic-ground our group cleaned and sorted the berries, then took turns cranking the ice cream maker. Homemade ice cream is really worth the effort.
 Monday 29 January 2001
  I've been giving tips to Rose's sister, Pamela, who - with a girlfriend - is heading off to London, Paris, Nice, and some parts of Italy. When I travel I keep detailed notes, some of which gets turned into travelogues. I have much more, though, including menus from the restaurants we enjoyed, details about stores we liked, etc. I've been going through these for Pamela, and it's making me very envious that we're not travelling. Sigh.

Okay, okay, okay! I finished putting the pictures from our time in Arizona in 1997 into a travelogue. You'll be able to see our visits to the Grand Canyon, the desert, the Rez, and through a dust storm. We also made stops in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson. Not to forget a little bit about the air travel and hotel stay. Enjoy!

 Sunday 28 January 2001
  Happy Super Bowl Sunday! We pretty much ignore the game, unless it's to go outside for a post-game celebration, but this year we lent Felicia and Adam our television (which had been banished to the cellar). They're having a party, to which we're invited, but generally it's not of much interest to Isaac. Update: I took Isaac to the Mission Playground for the afternoon. There were far fewer men there, probably due to the big game. Of course, it's not only the men: all the Anglo women were speaking of was the debut of "Survivor 2". The Latinas were talking about childcare and cooking, with a bit about travel to Central Americas. Culture, culture, culture.

But what I intended to say today was this: I just upgraded to Connectix Virtual PC 4 (running Microsoft Windows 98). I checked out these web pages with Internet Explorer 4.x and it seemed fine. The wierdness which rendered the date bars on this page in unreadable colors seems to be gone. If you are running some flavor of Windows and you don't see brown bars with the dates in white text please let me know. Thanks.

While I happen to be mentioning operating systems, and while I have this bee in my bonnet, let me vent a bit about the shortcomings about the Mac OS 9 short filenames (31 characters or less). It's driving me nuts! I've been downloading some MP3 music files from artists about which I've heard - Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck come to mind - and the descriptive long names (which render just fine under Mac OS X) get horribly mangled. What's worse is that I know the ability for the OS to use long names has been there for a bit, but it's never been switched on. Grrrrrrr.

 Saturday 27 January 2001
  The last few days have been heavily overcast, quite rainy, and unpleasantly cold. Exactly the weather I remember enduring each time I travel through Madrid-Barajas Airport. Today was completely different: absolutely clear, without a cloud in the sky from dawn to dusk, without even the hint of rain. And while it wasn't warm, it was temperate enough to walk without a sweatshirt or jacket.

We took the "Big Blue Van" - Carey, Roya, and Tobias' car - to Marin, where we hiked from the Tennessee Valley trailhead to the ocean. There we sat for an hour, discussing how we imagined childcare in our grandparents' time. With recent ancestors in Krakow (Poland), Ahlen (Germany), Tehran (Iran), and the American east coast, we had quite the range of stories.

After several hours out of doors we drove onwards, pausing briefly at the Bay Area Discovery Museum; we'd purchased a membership long ago. The kids had a delight exploring (again). Their favorites seem to be the "big, big boat" (a small runabout) and the tactile play space, with the goldfish aquarium mounted in the ceiling, above a water bed.

We reboarded the van and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to "ess eff", where we met up with David, Sally, and Mattie (who you might remember from the 2000 Huckleberry Hike). (Thanks be for cellular phones, which make on-the-fly meeting arrangements possible.) All of us, three families with one child each, pounced unannounced into Pasquale's Pizza on Irving Street (a place I'd not been since the annual Ranger Orientation Meeting before Burning Man. The pizzeria had no problem seating us, and those of us with children were in the vast majority. I guess it's the city version of Chuck E. Cheese :-)

 Friday 26 January 2001
  Only a few things give Rose and me more pleasure than hearing Isaac's sentences. He's been a chatterbox for quite a while now, but every once in a while something longer or more complicated than I expect will emerge. Today's bon mots are: "The knife is too long for the pee-pee-toilet" (his play toilet) and "Ikey [Isaac] turning the pages of 'The Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear'" (a favorite book of his).

We used to hear things like "Papa's pajamas are red, Ikey's pajamas are purple", but lately it's been "Papa's sleeper is red, Ikey's sleeper is NOT red." Sometimes he mimics us: "where could the orange juice be?" or "which book should Papa read?" (before bed-time, as part of our end-of-day ritual).

 Thursday 25 January 2001
  I found the pictures from our trips to Arizona, and am now putting them into a travelogue. It'll probably take another day or so, being that I'm still fighting the cold that's been laying me low. The weather hasn't helped at all: on Tuesday it rained heavily, yesterday it was cool, and today it's cold, cold, cold. Isaac is feeling better, and we've been taking him to playgroups, but none of us is running close to one hundred per cent. Annoying cold.
 Wednesday 24 January 2001
  Twenty-five years ago Apple announced the Macintosh to their Board of Directors and to the world. The computer world has never been the same. Neither has the marketing world, after that famous "1984" ad which shows the masses enslaved by IBM until a female athelete destroys the master computer...
 Tuesday 23 January 2001

Finally, and with her permission, here's the debut appearance on my web pages of my sister Felicia and her husband Adam. Is that a six-foot can of Guinness stout behind them? Only you can say for sure.


An adventure, in which our heroes travel once again to the beautiful California coastline and hike into the mountains to partake of the huckleberry harvest 2000, making fresh ice cream thereof with their travelling companions.


As I was tidying up bits and pieces from my hard drive I came across the beginnings of a travelogue I wrote while on a business trip to the Tempe / Scottsdale / Mesa / Phoenix (Arizona) area in the summer of 1997. I intended to flesh it out while on the ground, with pictures to boot, but evidently work was too time-consuming. So I present the fragment as I found it, for your amusement...


Also found on the same hard disks spelunking expedition is another fragment of a travelogue, this of a trip to Lake Tahoe that we took in January of 1998. Rose was learning to ski; this was preparation for our trip the following month to Cortina d'Ampezzo, in the Italian Alps.


A few aeronautical items which have been lying around my hard disk:

This is another picture of the take-off of the doomed Concorde which crashed this summer. Much like the Challenger, this disaster seems to have been a failure of management over engineering. Dissapointing.
This is a Phantom breaking through the sound barrier only a few feet above the ground. The diamond-shaped white area which skirts the plane is the shock wave condensing water vapor from the air.


Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the first long distance radio transmission by Guglielmo Marconi. Whether he, Nkiola Tesla, or even Alexander Popov is the father of radio, it's been an amazing trip from the crystal radio set to voice-over-IP (on the Internet). Here's to all the good stuff which has come over the radio, from the magnificient shows (such as The Green Hornet, the cowbow shows, and the variety hours) to news reporting "from the front". Thanks.

 Monday 22 January 2001
  Challenger In a few days, on the 28th, it'll have been fifteen years since mission 51-L of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after lift-off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, killing all seven aboard. For those of us too young to remember the assassination of President John F Kennedy - the space center's namesake - the Challenger disaster is a similar milestone.

I was enjoying my adventures at Boston University when I heard about the tragedy, although I wasn't sure what I'd heard at first. As a lifelong science fiction and space enthusiast (having corresponded at age eleven or so with the late Dr. Lloyd Motz, the teacher of an extremely early-morning astronomy program on Sunrise Semester) I was shocked and disturbed by the accident, and even more so when the late Dr. Richard Feynman effectively demonstrated that the accident could have been prevented with a more enlightened management style, one which listened to the engineers.

While I have mentioned the passing of those important to me on these web pages, it's with this anniversary that I debut my In Memoriam section, in which both the Challenger and Dr. Richard Feynman appear.

 Sunday 21 January 2001
  According to my web site integrity testing software today this site has 731 pages, on which appear 27,519 links. Of these, 99.3 per cent are correct, with most of the 195 failed links coming from old documents. I used to ignore these errors, but lately I've gone in and removed the links and left a comment in its place.

Dave Kris Speaking of links, I've had several friends visit the site lately. It's prompted me to provide reverse pointers to their sites in a brand-new Links section. Hi Kris and "Tron"! Now it's even easier for me to hit your pages...

 Saturday 20 January 2001
  Oh, good grief, despite my best efforts Isaac now has the bug from which I just recovered. His fever goes up and down: 100.04 @ 0600, 101.77 @ 1015, 102.33 @ 1652, 101.66 @ 2344, 100.58 @ 0154 (Sun), 97.34 @ 1113 (Sun).

Another dose of toddler acetaminophen at 1730 to push the fever down and make him more comfortable. He's a cranky boy right now. In the evenings we give him a combination Antihistamine/Decongestant/Cough Suppressant symptom-reducer (with Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine, and Dextromethorphan) so he can breathe more easily; not well, just easier. Even so, much of Friday night and Saturday night are spent monitoring Isaac as he sleeps in a reclining position, propped up on a mountain of pillows.

 Friday 19 January 2001
  It's a few minutes past midnight, and Isaac has a fever of 37.1 C (98.78 F). So I started the vaporizer. Sigh. He's a bit congested, so I tilted his bed up a wee bit. I should probably be asleep, but I'm up, watching over my "doodle". He's sleeping well now.


AT&T There's no cable television signal coming. So I call the rocket scientists over at AT&T Broadband (their new high-tech name for what used to be called Cablevision) and hang on the phone for ten minutes until I speak to a person who tells me there's a service outage in my area. Yes, I know, I say, but is there a web page where I can check for status? After all, AT&T now owns @home and is provides cellular telephone service, they should have a half-dozen ways to get information out. No, says the droid to which I'm talking, they can't do that. I should call up again and wait a while if I want her (or another of her kind) to tell me that my service is out.


AOL Speaking of dim-witted companies, I had a brush with AOL this afternoon. My father changed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to AOL. He should have asked before jumping ship; AOL seems to have set up their firewall to block Timbuktu. Now I can't remotely administer Dad's Macintosh. I asked him to call them to confirm this is the reason I can't connect to the IP address he's been given. (They could be using some sort of Network Address Translation, but that's another annoyance. If that's the case I wonder if AOL gives out real, fixed IP addresses?) For the record, and since we seem to need this information at least once a year, here are the ports I need to be open:

Timbuktu Function datagram & port
Connection UDP port 407
Control TCP port 1417
Observe TCP port 1418
Send Files TCP port 1419
Exchange Files TCP port 1420
Chat dynamic TCP port
Notify dynamic TCP port
Intercom dynamic TCP and UDP ports
Ask for Permission dynamic TCP and UDP ports


Erik Estrada Since I'm getting signal down other parts of my cable, just nothing on AT&T Broadband's conduit, I suspect that they may have been unprepared for emergencies, and a power outage may have scrambled their computers. I'm watching channels I generally skip; now I'm a captive audience. (Oh, okay, I could just turn it off, but I like a bit of background noise while I'm working on the computer.) What's on? A situation comedy called "Unhappily Ever After", with Erik Estrada as the guest star. He's quite funny, in a role which pokes fun at has-been celebrities. Good for you, Erik.

Erik Estrada starred as Frank "Ponch" Poncherello on the hit TV show "CHiPs" back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. CHiPs was dubbed in 87 different languages. The show made Erik a national star and sex symbol. People magazine named him one of "The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World" in 1979. Erik also starred on the highly successful Mexican soap "Dos Mujeres, Un Camino." In a web interview he said "in Latin TV soaps you don't have to memorize your lines, they are fed to you in a little receiver in one ear and a microphone in the other ear, and you hear your dialogue and every other actor's dialogue as you are going. It's not an easy technique to learn." I learn something new every day.


Just found some photos of the family cats and put them into the Family Pet Gallery. Some of you might remember reading about Copernicus, Ptolemy, and Bleu.


Gregory Corso, Beat We pause a moment to mark the passing of Gregory Corso. He was the last of the Beats, a group of writers who first met in New York City in the late 1940s, a group which included Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg. In the 1950s they moved en-masse to San Francisco's Italian neighborhood, North Beach, where fellow Beat Lawrence Ferlinghetti opened up the City Lights Bookstore. (You may want to read Ferlinghetti's poem Ginsberg is Dying.)

One of Corso's utterances? "What are fish? Animalized water!"

Steve Silberman, a student of Corso's at a Buddhist university in Colorado, wrote (in the San Francisco Chronicle): "I remember seeing Corso one day on the street, wheeling his son Max in a stroller and carrying a Super-8 camera. He told me he had just thrown firecrackers into the meditation hall and filmed the results."

 Thursday 18 January 2001
  Internet TV with CU-SeeMe When my book Internet TV with CU-SeeMe, ISBN 1-57521-006-1, went out of print I promised to put it up on the web. Well, it's done. You'll see the last manuscript which passed through my hands. The Sams.Net folks munged it for the printing run, but they never forwarded anything back to me. You'll see comments from editors, production staff, and me, as we write and assemble a book with a third of the world between us.

I'm placing this on the net as a historical curiosity. In 1995 we were giddy at being able to do the first of many things, and I suspect you'll see the enthusiasm throughout the book. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't email me to say that the current version of CU-SeeMe doesn't look or operate like it did in 1995. Nor request technical help; it's been years since I spent any significant time using CU-SeeMe and I'm no longer the best-qualified to answer your questions.

How did this book get written, and in print? Well, after I'd been writing these CU-SeeMe web pages for two years I was approached by the Sams/Macmillian publishing company to write a book. This I did, starting in the Haight-Ashbury, finishing on my 1995 trip to Eivissa and Gran Canaria. The book was the result. Parts of this book were written on my Newton MessagePad 110, because my PowerBook was eaten by very spiky electrical power while on Eivissa.


Much of my time spent on the Macintosh is devoted to alpha- and beta-testing new software. (I do most of my professional programming on UNIX boxes.)

MacsBug An essential tool for evaluating software crashes on the Mac is MacsBug, a middle-level debugger. Since the software authors don't share the source code, all I can do with their code is generally track what's going wrong, and why. But that's enough. One day I accidentally turned on Balloon Help, a very annoying and terribly underused help feature of the Mac OS. I passed the cursor over the MacsBug program only to see this hilarious note. I know we're always blame the hardware, but I never knew it was so official.


PG&E Rolling blackouts, threatened in California for the past few weeks, finally became reality yesterday (but not at our home). A combination of poor management in keeping our state's generating stations on-line, weather (extreme cold, kelp clogging the intakes to the nearby nuclear power station), and eco-politics (we haven't built any new sources of energy in a decade) has us enjoying a Stage 3

bill We heard about law students trapped in an elevator at the Hastings School of Law. Tourists were unable to get hot food. Melting ice cream. ATMs and cash registers off-line. TV stations off the air. Traffic signals going dark. (Don't they have those on a separate system!?!) Geeks nervously hitting the Save function every five seconds. (Again, not at our home. Can there be any better reason for using a laptop?

Today we had 114,000 customers hit by rolling blackouts, including toddlers stuck in an elevator with their mother, the firefighters tearing open the door. Since they know which "billing blocks" they'll be hitting next, couldn't they plan to present this information to the public IN ADVANCE via every radio station, web page, etc.? Kind of like we dealt with snow days back east? It doesn't make sense to plunge folks into darkness and then have emergency services folks fixing the aftermath. Isn't this the kind of thing that the California Office of Emergency Services would be perfect to coördinate, much in the same way as they handle post-earthquake chaos?

What arcane bit of infrastructure trivia did I learn today? Well, because of the Stage Three Power Alert and the resultant power outages, airlines at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) were scrambling for jet fuel, because the Richmond refinery that supplies fuel to the airport was without electrical power. The refinery uses an under-bay pipeline to send the fuel to SFO. Airlines there use about 2.5 million gallons of fuel a day, and they don't have enough in reserve if outages last more than a few days. A pipeline under the bay? Interesting.

 Wednesday 17 January 2001
  Sattler is not a common name, although there are several seemingly unrelated families with that name. When I was in the Army I met two Sattlers, one from the mid-west and another from the north-east, neither Jewish nor from Krakow, Poland, (as best as we could figure it out). The former was African American, which makes me wonder how our name was picked as a family name.

Heck, there are even Sattlers here in San Francisco. The family which owns Moishe's Pippic ("Moses' Stomach", in Yiddish) is from Krakow. They bred one more generation than we did in the years since the war - we're late bloomers - and so their grandfather is the same age as my father. I had these two chat on the phone some years back, but they can't remember a connection. Still, I assume we're somehow related. Anybody out there have knowhow and access to DNA hardware?

Unrelated visitors to this site tipped me off to a famous Sattler, an anabaptist martyr. Yesterday relatives pointed me at Norbert Sattler, an Austrian skiing champion, the namesake behind Sattler's Hole, a Canadian whitewater rafting spot.


Speaking of families, my sister-in-law is single. This is what she wrote of herself for a Jewish singles website some months ago:

Pam My name is Pam. I'm 34 years old, 5 feet tall, with a petite build. I've lived in San Francisco since I was three. I'm easy-going and strong-willed, flexible, humorous, liberal, nurturing, and patient. I'm very close with my family; a conservative Jew; I don't keep kosher. I don't smoke and rarely drink. I love nature except for spiders, mosquitoes, and bees ;-)

I'm originally from Buffalo, New York. My family moved to San Francisco when I was 3 years old. I have two older sisters, both of whom got married in 1997 and also live in the Bay Area. And I'm the proud Auntie of Isaac, my almost five-month-old nephew, who is pure joy to me.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies. For the last ten years I've worked at at a child care program for school-aged kids. I started out as a teacher; now I'm the director.

I've done the dating and activity thing, and had fun, but I'd like to find someone who wants to do the hard work of creating and maintaining a relationship, get married, and have a child or two. I have all the ingredients it takes to be a true friend, which I believe is the most important part of a relationship.

You? Jewish, 25-35ish, done with casual dating, well-rounded, ready to work on a long-term relationship, secure in your identity, ready to start another fun phase of life.

Sounds good? If you're interested and you meet her criteria you may ping me with some questions or email her directly.


Jim Henson Elmo Fever's back. It hit 39.1 C (102.38 F) at around ten o'clock this evening but it's down half a degree now. Sigh. I haven't been hit with a flu this badly in three or four years. That took me out for a total of four days, and I really mean out. A much higher fever, delerium, sweating. It's at times like these that I remember that Henson died of a streptococcal pyogenes lung infection, essentially a very severe bout of rheumatic fever, because he was enthralled by overwork and seemingly too timid to go to a hospital when he began to cough up blood. By the time he agreed to be taken to New York Hospital, his organs were already shutting down. (Hey, I love the Muppets as much as the next guy, and I have nothing but the sincerest sympathies for Jim's family, but genius or no genius, when you're coughing up blood your body is trying to send you a message. Find a physician, quickly.)

 Tuesday 16 January 2001
  Well, I lost the last 24 hours of my life to a flu with a high fever. We measured it at 39 C (102.2 F) on its way down, early this evening. I spent the day sleeping in the sun in the south-facing window of our bedroom [last picture, here]. (I know you're supposed to cool a fever, but it's too uncomfortable for me. I put on a wool watchcap, socks, and thermal underwear and huddle under blankets in the sun to feel warm. If it hits 41 we'll reconsider :-) Anyhow, I stayed in my corner, with tissues and veggie broth, determined to have this particular line of flu die with me; you picked the wrong person to infect, buddy!

Once the fever passed, the kidneys stopped feeling like someone was banging on them, and Isaac went to sleep, I watched Dogma, on DVD. (That's why I was commenting about the broken DVD software fiasco in Apple's recent operating system upgrade.) Well, it's a very funny movie, with quite the intelligent twist. A thinking man's slaker film. I like this Kevin Smith guy more with each movie he makes. The interplay between the fallen angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartelby (Ben Affleck) remind me of the same between the leads in Guildenstern and rosencrantz Are Dead. Even reminds me a bit of the modern rendition of the bard's Romeo & Juliet, with DiCaprio and Danes. Chris Rock is very touching and funny as Rufus, the 13th apostle. While Charleton Heston was a good Moses, Alanis Morisette makes a great supreme being.

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