Shuttersparks

Welcome to my musings on whatever topic catches my eye, plus stories, recipes, handyman tips, welding, photography, and what have you. Oh, and analog/digital hardware design, and software. Please comment on the blog post so everyone who visits can see your comments.

Category: Announcement (page 2 of 5)

On Google Plus Closing Down

The announcement that Google was going shut down the public access part of Google Plus came as a major shock to me. I had used it since the beginning. Google Plus is my only “normal” social networking platform. I also use Twitter, but I don’t consider it the same kind of tool as Google Plus. I immediately began searching for an alternative. There are a few out there. For the time being, I settled on MeWe.

Google has a habit of creating platforms, running them for a few years, then shutting them down. If you’re a big fan of Google, like I am, or was, it’s easy to overlook all these apps and services that Google has ditched over the years. But if you look at the list at killedbygoogle.com, it’s shocking. I realized that my Google fandom blinded me to this willy-nilly unstable behavior of Google that has wasted billions of man-hours of people’s time. Over the years I had also been a user of Google Wave, Google Reader, Google Talk, and Google Buzz. I still miss Google Reader. And, now I’m worried and uncomfortable with depending on Google products.

While searching for an alternative, I began to wonder if it was such a good idea to invest your whole world in a single social networking platform like G+. What I wanted was something more permanent. If I’m going to invest time and effort writing posts, I’d like to know that they’ll be around and not simply disappear because some corporation decides to pull the plug. Of course, no platform is forever, but some platforms are more stable and they allow relatively easy export and transfer of your content to a different platform. Google Plus doesn’t provide this, nor does MeWe. Blogging does. I have several blogs but my activity there has slowed over the years. Blogger is also run by Google and could be shut down, but the content is easily exported.

I had the idea to post on a blog and to put links to the article on whatever social media, like G+, MeWe, etc. This is not a new idea on my part, nor original. There are several people I follow who do this, and I began to realize that this may be the best way to post things to the Internet. Blogs can be archived, transferred to other platforms, or hosted on your own server. Of course, I’d like for things to stick around even after I’m dead, so my kids or anyone else can search and read the nonsense I’ve written, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

This blog post is to announce that I will commence posting in this way, starting with this post.

Note, however, that I will only blog things that I write myself. I will continued to post links to news stories directly to social media, unless there’s something meaty that I have to say about it.

Here we go. We’ll see how this works out.

Note also that I will be very busy over the next few days, so nothing much will show up here until next week. I should have time to write something over the Christmas holiday break.

Please comment below.

Unique Holiday Ornaments

My daughter, Alexis, does fiber arts. If you’re looking for unusual handmade holiday ornaments, please have a look.¬†These are internally illuminated cross-stitched designs that can hang on a tree or mantle, or decorate a table. The batteries last 250 to 500 hours and are easily replaced.Her creations can be seen on Etsy, on the Metal Dreams web site, or you can communicate directly with her at info@metaldreams.tech and discuss custom designs.

https://metaldreams.tech/craft.html

https://www.etsy.com/listing/648025888/handmade-christmas-ornaments?ref=shop_home_active_1

50th Anniversary of Computer Programming

For what it’s worth, I celebrate a milestone this month, October, 2018. Fifty years ago, I learned to program a computer, in October of 1968. The machine was an IBM 1130. The first language I learned was Fortran IV. Computer programming bit me so hard that I completed the entire four volume IBM programmed learning course in three days of almost non-stop immersion. I was already deep into electronics and astronomy, and the computer complemented both of those fields. For several years, programming became almost an obsession.

In rapid sequence I learned Fortran IV, 1130 machine language, RPG, and APL. I was hooked. Below is an old grainy photo of the very machine I learned on.

Please comment below.

“My” IBM 1130

Time-Lapse Photography (playlist)

I’ve started to shoot some time-lapse videos and posting them on YouTube in this playlist. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-KAS6i0aKL1OmukubN7J4rZnmKrsjts7

Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913

If you were born and raised in Los Angeles and/or are interested in the history of the Southland (Southern California), there is a wonderful book for you. ¬†“Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913” by Harris Newmark is a great book about the history of Los Angeles and the Southland from 1853 to 1913, written by a person who lived it.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s I was fascinated to learn the origin of some of the street names like Sepulveda, Pico, and Olvera. Sepulveda is named after the Sepulveda family, owners of tens of thousands of acres now occupied by Palos Verdes. Pico Blvd. is named after Don Pio Pico. When I was five years old, my uncle’s house was near Winslow Drive and Micheltorena, and I thought Micheltorena was such a strange word. I had not yet learned to speak Spanish, nor did I know that Micheltorena was a well known person in 19th century Los Angeles.

As time went on I learned more but I’d never before found a book like this one–jam packed with information. Written by a businessman who immigrated from Germany to Los Angeles in 1853, the author personally knew everyone of any importance in the Southland over a period of 60 years. He writes the story of LA as it grew from a few adobe buildings and dirt streets, complete with gold miners and gunslingers, to a modern metropolis.

Here’s a short list of names in the book that should sound familiar to any Angeleno: Juan Temple, owner of the 27,000 acre Los Cerritos Rancho, after whom is named Temple Street; Don Abel Stearns, owners of tens of thousands of acres between San Pedro and San Bernardino including Los Coyotes Rancho, La Habra Rancho, San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana Rancho, and the Los Alamitos Rancho upon which now sits the City of Long Beach; John G. Downey; Bernard Yorba, owner of the land upon which now stand the City of Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Westminster, Garden Grove, and other parts of Orange County, which was then part of Los Angeles County; Willliam Workman and John Rowland, owners of the 49,000 acre La Puente Rancho; Don Luis Vignes, owner of the land now occupied by East LA; The Dominguez Family, owners of a 48,000 acre land grant from the King of Spain; Dr. del Amo; Henry Dalton, owners of the Azusa Ranch and Duarte; Manuel Garfias, owner of the 14,000 acre San Pasqual Ranch upon which were built Pasadena and South Pasadena; Don Ygnacio Machado, owner of La Ballona; Colonel Jonathan Trumbull Warner, owner of the Warner Ranch upon which part of Orange County now sits; Benjamin Davis Wilson, owner of most of San Gabriel, after whom Mt. Wilson is named; Colonel Julian Isaac Williams, owner of the Cucamonga and Chino ranches; Don Pio Pico, owner of a 22,000 acre rancho and after whom Pico Blvd. is named; William Wolfskill, owner of Rancho Santa Anita and Rancho San Francisquito upon which Newhall now stands; Don Jose Ygnacio Lugo, owner of the land upon which Santa Barbara now stands; Louis Robidoux, owner of the Jurupa Rancho upon which now sits the City of Riverside and after whom Mt. Robidoux is named; Juan Forster, owner of the Santa Margarita Rancho and Las Flores Rancho; and the Verdugo Family, owners of a 36,000 acre land grant from the King of Spain dating from 1784 and upon which now sits the City of Glendale.

Interested? The above really is a short list. The author knew all of these people personally and many more. The book contains vast amounts of first hand information.

“Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913” is available for free download from The Gutenberg Project:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42680

The epub version includes all the photo plates from the book. I highly recommend it.

Or, get a real copy of this excellent book:

Sixty Years in Southern California by Harris Newmark

Major Flickr Accident

Photo sharing service Flickr accidentally deleted a user’s photos.  Five years and 4,000 photos are gone and there’s no recovery, no backups.  Read about it here:

http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/02/flickr-accidentally-wipes-out-account-five-years-and-4000-photos-down-the-drain/

If just the thought of this gives you a wave of nausea, there are solutions to the problem such as this one:

http://www.backupify.com

How about your Gmail account?  Google Docs?  I have 1,500 spreadsheets and 300 important documents plus miscellaneous stuff stored on Google Docs and can’t afford to lose them.  What about all your posts on Facebook?  A service like Backupify can give you a level of safety and control you don’t have now.

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