Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Is your blog backed up?

Ilene brought this up recently, and I have started to look into how you can back up a blog. Of course you could just go through the archives and save each page, month by month.

But there are services that will take care of it for you, including BlogCollector and Backupmyblog.

And for users of Blogger, there's How do I create a backup of my entire blog? but sheesh, that looks complicated.

Over at Come on Feel the Nuys

A posting flurry today over at Come on Feel the Nuys:

Today Van Nuys, Tomorrow the World

The Potty Chronicles Part I and II

Joe Pass and the San Fernando Valley

Friday, June 16, 2006

Movable Type vs. Blogger

The new Come on Feel the Nuys blog uses Movable Type, so that's a bit of an adjustment. The best thing about the Blogger front end is that it handles photos so easily. You upload the image, select the size and placement, and it does all that Photoshoppish crap for you. I've resisted image editing of any kind up until now (even though I semi-regularly post to the big Daily News Web site and should be uploading photos with the stories.

But overall, Movable Type is intuitive enough to let me upload photos, create links and add to the blogroll. Police-reporter-turned Web guru Josh Kleinbaum cleaned up some of the problems -- he outclasses me in geeky knowledge and is so enthusiastic, I think we'll have to hose him down periodically.

So for the moment, this blog is turning meta -- a blog about blogging. Is blogging all about compulsion? Yes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Come on Feel the Nuys

With the online world of the Daily News cranking itself up -- way up, my official Daily News blog, Come on Feel the Nuys, makes its debut.

I've been blogging as an "amateur," or whatever you call blogging for yourself and not for The Man, for over a year now. Hard to believe that. And I don't know how it's going to feel writing a blog with the official Daily News logo on it. It may be no different, but I can imagine there will be things that will fit better over there, some over here. I'll work that out as I go along. I do feel that blogging is somewhere between total wanking and a transformative force in journalism, literature and self-expression. Depends on what day you catch me. So raise your double espresso. Then drink it.


Peeling the Orange

So even though the Orange Line is the most popular thing since double espressos, the Westbound Ventura Freeway has been total, absolute shit the past two days.

Here's part of Rachel Uranga's story:

With the Orange Line nearly surpassing its 15-year ridership goals in just seven months, transit experts say the MTA should consider expanding the line and even adopting a light-rail system - sooner rather than later - to meet soaring passenger demand.


Considered the Cadillac of the MTA system, the ($330 million) busway boasts its own landscaping, right-of-way and a bike path. The 57-seat, train-like buses see more riders than the $898 million Gold Line that runs from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles.

I figure the line will eventually get tracks and electric trains -- but they've got to finish the final station somewhere near Canoga Park High and get the buses off the streets of Warner Center first. There hasn't been any news of late about buses running into cars and vice versa, but if they do go for rail, they'll have to put up crossing arms at all the intersections. There just aren't enough Camrys to go around otherwise.

Shifting at the Daily News

Usually the way inside-the-Daily News news gets out there is through business reporter and union guru Brent Hopkins' The Paper Trail. But since he's the news in this case, I figure he won't be trumpeting his move from the business desk to the news side.

He's not moving desks or anything -- that would mean toting all his junk less than 5 feet to the west, anyway. But he shifts from one editor (Dan Anderson) to another (poker aficionado Aron "All In" Miller), and since he does so many great features anyway, he'll continue in that capacity, but probably in more of a general-assignment and less of a business vein. (He never did the "Netflix of porn" in Van Nuys story I tipped him to, but what can you do?)

Anyway, Brent is an all-around great guy, with a superb collection of hats and an impossibly cool 1960s Mustang (just don't get behind it -- those old cars can really kick out the exhaust).

Coming into the business slot is Julia Scott of the Newark Star-Ledger. Let's all say it together: "Neuwak!"

In other Daily News transitioning, police reporter Josh Kleinbaum leaves the dead bodies behind to become the new Newsroom Online Content Editor. Yes, there is now an actual Editorial person in charge of the Web side of the operation. Josh has been tearing it up something fierce for the past two weeks, so expect to see big changes at Dailynews.com.

In the wake, Susan Abram moves from nights to days, and Angie Valencia goes from the Simi bureau to nights in Woodland Hills.

And I'm not just saying it because I work here, but the business and metro staffs have really been cranking it out over the last long while. Those who don't see the paper every day, especially on the weekends, are missing out on some quality journalism and insight into what makes the San Fernando Valley tick. If I felt otherwise, I'd just say/write nothing, but what these men and women are able to do, given their small numbers and all the space they have to fill is pretty inspirational.

Starbucks Gossip

Jim Romenesko's Starbucks Gossip has been very busy of late. And our local Starbucks has been plenty busy as well. The line was out the friggin door the other day, and I really, really wanted a double E (that's double espresso for those who don't know my idiotic slang). Where else can you get so much pleasure and wakefulness for $1.75? At least when the line is long and it's the morning, the crew at the Van Nuys SB knows how to move it along, with one barrista calling out for drink orders and relaying them to those manning the machines.

One thing that annoys me: the new board on which the coffees of the day are posted. It's too small for me to read without my glasses. Shit, I'm old, but not THAT old. Oh well, since I'm in a double E stage of life, it really doesn't matter anyway.

By the way, Romenesko's main blog is where all the action is in regard to inside-ish journalism news. I try to get there once a day just so I know all the poop in the chute.

Another Daily News blogger

How could I forget Bridget Johnson, she of the news copy desk and the Viewpoint section, who blogs under the title of GOP Vixen? I'm not saying I agree with her politics, because I don't, but she a very nice woman who gives out candy. Literally. And candy can help get you through a day here in Woodland Hills.

Bridget has a very good blog. To find out a whole lot about her, start here.

Two new blogs

I haven't been posting much lately for a variety of reasons, so it's a great time to start two new blogs. As you may know, in addition to 2,000 Days, I also have Jazz Guitar Journey.

What I've been doing and thinking about lately hasn't had much to do with the generally accepted topics, not to mention blogish vibes, of those two forums, so I've started This Old Mac and This Old PC, which have a whole lot to do with my recent activities.

It's all part of my quest over the past couple of months to rehabilitate and make useful two 10-year-old computers, one a generic PC with a Pentium II-MMX 333 mHz processor that's currently running Windows 2000, the other an Apple Macintosh Powerbook 1400cs/117 mHz now running OS 7.6.1.

Through about a hundred Web sites and online forums, as well as the expertise of my friend Bruce -- computer guru and junk purveyor extraordinaire -- I've been able to make these two ancient hunks of metal, silicon and plastic into usable computers that don't have to be thrown out or recycled. Part of it is the expense of getting new hardware (and the new software that inevitably goes with it), part is the environmental factor and the desire to not be wasteful. And part is just the "fun" that goes along with the tinkering, tuning and prodding to get this junk up and running. And don't forget the "free" factor. When stuff is this old, you can often get all the parts and software you need for little or no money. Once people know you're doing this kind of thing, they're practically begging you to come over and look through their junk, hoping you'll take some of it away. Really though, all you usually have to do is ask, and you'll soon be receiving free stuff.

Part of the urgency for those who will gift you with freebies is that it's ILLEGAL to dump computers in the trash, and most charitable collection agencies like Goodwill and the Salvation Army WON'T TAKE IT. You either have to haul it to the city refuse collection site in Sun Valley ... or find someone who wants it.

How many of you are using a decade-old computer? If your crazy-nuts about technology, you might get a new computer every two or three years. Regular people? I'd say the average PC (or Mac, for that matter) probably has a five-year shelf life, seven years if you stretch it. But after that, there's usually some kind of software you can't run, add-on gadgets that won't add on (like digital cameras and all the crap that comes with them). One of the sorest points of all this is that the No. 1 use for computers by far is Web browsing, and the people and companies that create Web sites are constantly packing new technologies into their Web pages that increasingly can't be handled by older computers (or any kind of Mac -- even the newest ones -- in many cases). Flash, Java, and a host of other add-ons muddy the HTML waters, and the new browsers that can handle the increasing complexity often run slow as mud on older computers, or not at all. On my Powerbook, for example, I can't -- and never will -- be able to run OS X, and since Firefox won't run on the "classic Macintosh" OS, and Microsoft infamously ceased support for the Mac version of Internet Explorer (for both OS X and classic Macs), there's not much to turn to. The best I've found is IE 5.0, believe it or not -- thanks to Dan Palka of System 7 Today for that and so much more.

My bottom line: Something that costs $1,000 shouldn't have a three-year shelf life. That' s just wrong. These things should be more easily upgradable, or a lot cheaper out of the door. The fact that you can get a bare-bones PC for $200 or less at Fry's goes a long way toward pacifying me, but it's just crazy that this industry has lulled us into a constant upgrade path.

In closing, a lot of this was borne out of my frustration at the old Daily News computers, which we just got rid of a few months ago. They were mostly Celerons that ran at about 400 mHz with 32 MB RAM and Windows 98. Crashing ... every ... five ... minutes. For the editorial software system, there was adequate resources, but to run that AND an IE5 browser window? Forget it. We were rebooting between five and 20 times a day. For our new Unisys system, we all got new Dell Optiplex GX520 computers running Windows XP, and I must say, these are really sweet. If you are in the market for a new PC, you won't go wrong with one of these Dells. IE7 still crashes about six times a day, but you don't have to reboot the whole machine. It's just that IE happens to suck, although it's does feel like a well-worn glove. (Say it: Smell the glove.)