Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Occasional Tip

It doesn't take me to announce that there's lots of bad people in this internet world, you already know that. You've already heard of making sure you have firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware protection. But just because all the previous tools do their jobs doesn't mean somebody hasn't snuck one past your barriers. You might still have malicious programs running on your machine as you read this. So here's another technique that's not so well known to find bad things that might be running on your computer. Did you ever look in your Task Manager on the Processes tab and ever wonder what those file names (svchost.exe or alg.exe, for example) meant? You can google those process file names and get descriptions of what they are. The best tool that I found was a site called There you can search for the process file name, and ProcessFinder will give you an explanation of what it is, and whether it poses a security threat or not. May your computing always be safe!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Notable News Worth Following

I don't claim to follow the news very closely, so the announcement today by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) took me quite by surprise (Senate speech here). He has thrown his support behind a bill that would restore federal funding for human stem cell research, which is an attempt by Congress to overturn President Bush's Executive Order in 2001 that restricted such funding. Since the President has already promised a veto on the legislation, there are those that will chalk up the move by Frist as political posturing as he looks to launch a 2008 presidential bid. More significantly this signals a potential challenge to the ultra-conservative christian minority that has the party in its grips. From the scientific standpoint, this will finally allow scientists in the United States to begin to catch up with countries like South Korea that have moved forward with research. Indeed, with potentially so much money at stake and the possibility of large numbers of jobs to be gained, it's ironic that the Republicans would look past money just to stand on principle. Let's wait and see.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Beachin Dreamin

Panama City Beach, Florida. Suffice to say, the weather was great.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NASA Takes a Step Back

I just finished watching the NASA press conference in which they announced suspension of further flights for the shuttle orbiter due to the unsatisfactory performance of the liquid propellent tanks during yesterday's launch. Find out more here.

Somewhere In Georgia

Between Albany, Georgia, and Panama City, Florida. A very different country than most may know.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Only Smoke I Like

I heard of a guy who travels who puts up pictures of all his meals on his blog. I'm not about to go to those lengths, but perhaps my favorite kind of dinner is bar-b-que. I consider myself something of a bbq snob. I will only eat where the meat is smoked on site. Forget about Applebee's and Chili's and all those crap food chains. They take more shortcuts than I care to think of. There's a reason they smother it in sauce. And you can taste it. I have had bbq in Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, and many points in between, and the very best bbq is found in the mom and pop restaurants across our great land. Now there are a few bbq chains that are actually very good. The plate you see above is from Sonny's Real Pit BBQ, a chain in the southeast US. Another chain is Famous Dave's, that I've seen in the upper midwest. Sadly, my bbq days may be numbered. I had some blood drawn during my last checkup, and the doc wants to talk about it. I have a feeling my cholesterol is a bit out of control. But it was definately great while it lasted!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Albany, Georgia

Today's Opinion

The following is an excerpt from Steve Forbes column in the July 4, 2005 edition of Forbes magazine.

Asinine Way to Treat Ultimate Asset: People

The Bush administration is doing the economy long term harm by not reforming our post-9/11 immigration and visa policies. Since the terrorist attacks, foreigners have had to go through considerably more hassle to enter this country. No one is arguing about the mortal necessity of tightening our screening procedures. But it defies belief that this, the most technologically advanced of nations, can't come up with software and hardware to expeditiously assist in determining who should and should not gain entrée.

Despite the weak dollar, the number of visitors from overseas during the past three years is down 23%. International conventions and seminars are not taking place in the U.S. because organizers can't be sure their delegates will be allowed into the country.

More alarmingly, foreign students are increasingly turning to non-U.S. universities. Australia, Canada and other nations have been effectively luring these students by assuring them that if they qualify, they won't have to undergo repeated, humiliating hassles at their borders. By contrast, foreign students now in the U.S. know that when they go home for summer vacation or holidays, their probability of returning to school is no sure thing.

Unless wannabe visitors to the U.S. are from one of 27 visa-free countries, they are required to pay a $100 application fee for a visa. This fee is not refunded if an application is denied. To add insult to injury, the "30-day" processing time for a visa can turn into months.

Copa d'Oro

Congratulations to the United States Men's National Soccer Team on their championship triumph in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In the final match today the USA defeated Panama 3-1 on penalty kicks after the game ended 0-0 after extra time.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

As Thick As A Cloud Of Mosquitos

Summer is a great time of year here in Wisconsin. Milwaukee has festivals starting with Summerfest at the beginning of the summer and lasting all the way past Labor Day. One huge annual event for aviation enthusiasts is the EAA AirVenture that's been held in Oshkosh for 35 years. In the days leading up to the event, the air traffic over Watertown increases dramatically as planes make their way the short remaining distance to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, which itself becomes the busiest airport in the world during the event. In fact, hotels here are usually booked for the week as the Watertown airport serves as one the overflow fields during the event.


A batch of big thunderstorms rolled through earlier, lights, flashes, flickering, tornado sirens. An exciting afternoon. Just as I finished washing the car.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

While I Was Away

Seems the small town I live in made some fairly big news the other day. Stations as far west as California have picked up the story. Find out more here. And here's a link to a nifty satellite picture.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The World Upside Down

Let me first state that I don't put a whole lot into the FIFA world rankings, but think for a minute. USA #6? In the world? We don't even call it football in this country, and our first division league can't manage to average 15,000 in attendance. And yet, #6. It should also come as no surprise that Mexico is ranked fifth, their highest ever, which I feel can be attributed to the strength of the USA and the mutually beneficial rivalry that has developed into one of the fiercest in the world. Artículo en Español.

Bug Bites

The view from the campsite. About 400 feet above the Wisconsin River looking north toward Prarie du Chien.

Wind + farm = Windfarm. Or something like that.

Have Spanish Conquistadores landed in Prarie du Chien? No, just the replica of the Columbus era caravelle, the "Nina".

Which end is up? Kickapoo Indian Caverns, Wauzeka, Wisconsin.

Driving out....air conditioning required....the views from the vistas are stunning....a relaxing evening stewing in the humidity.....midnight thunderstorms....morning hike climbing more vertical feet than I ever care to....touched the ground in Iowa for the very first time....yes, Iowa! nite, campfire more than just eye candy....pancakes, sausage and coffee, 'nuf said....we wish we rented the canoe for more than an hour....despite all attempts at camoflage, we found the cave....42 bug bites on left leg alone, wish I knew what the hell they were....some guy named Roberts nominated to Supreme....last day wake up dry, then it rains.....and rains....blows away breakfast...we pack up wet, have p-b-j's for our meal (with coffee, dammit) and head home....stop off at camper dealer on way home, this tent thing is starting to get old.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Vacation Time

To my regular viewers, thanks again. I am leaving for a brief vacation, a camping trip to Wyalusing State Park, on the Mississippi River near Prarie du Chien in southwest Wisconsin. I'll be back Wednesday, take care until then.

Latest from the Tour

George Hincapie has become the first team-mate of Lance Armstrong to win a stage of the Tour since 1999, winning stage 15 today. Although Hincapie has enjoyed team time trial success before, this is his first individual stage win in the Tour de France. Armstrong has further solidified his hold on the tour, and barring unforseen circumstances, should ride down the Champs Elysee wearing the yellow jersey next Sunday. He is now 2 min. 46 sec. ahead of Ivan Basso of Spain in the General Classification.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Family Night Out

Well, I knew it wouldn't take long for someone who had been there before, and stuffle was right on top of it. This turned out to be the most unusual baseball game I've ever been to. On this night, the Brewers beat the Nationals 4-3 in 10 innings after a balk was called with runners on first and third. In other important news, the Italian won the Sausage Race tonight.

I Had A Neighbor Named Emily

This one is every bit as bad as Dennis, and will probably get worse. It's heading toward the Yucatan peninsula. You can subscribe to the RSS feed by adding this URL into your aggregator.

What Is This?

What is this? The only hint I will give is that this structure is in the Milwaukee area. The answer later!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Now Please

One of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. The pope is now a literary critic? Are we to presume he actually read the thing? I'm sorry if I just wasted your time. I owe you two minutes of your life back.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Morning Ascent

Taken shortly after takeoff from Spokane, Washington, January 2005.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lance Back In Yellow

I have followed the career of Lance Armstrong since the early '90s, and I respect him not only more than any other athlete, but than most other people. Sappiness aside, he's done the impossible once again, taking back the yellow jersey in the first mountain stage of the tour today.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Air Conditioning

Aspen, Colorado, February 2004. Still my favorite trip.

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We Roll Along

I want to take a minute to thank all you great people that have visited my humble page. You may have noticed a little orange square with the letters XML in white. That link will open a new window with a slightly different looking version of my blog. Those of you that use news aggregators based on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) can add the URL into their aggregator and you will automatically be updated everytime I publish a new post.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


up in the night sky
among the points of light is
a star with your smile

Friday, July 08, 2005

Vast Tracts of Land

The Plainville (Kansas) Municipal Airport. North of Hays, Kansas.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Small Takes on Big News

Hurricane Dennis, bearing down on Cuba. Being a meteorologist by training, I keep a close eye on things like this. I have relatives on the west coast of Florida, who missed being plowed by Hurricane Charley last year by virtue of living five miles south of landfall.

On today's tragic events in London, my guess is that the protagonists of this butchery were playing to a very narrow constituency - themselves. It's hard to imagine that anyone else can be, almost 4 years after 9-11, sympathetic to their cause.

Finally, this is the first occurrence of my mother's birthday since her untimely death from lung cancer last year. I know people out there who smoke who tend to dismiss the effects of smoking by saying things like "if smoking don't kill me, something else will". Folks, if you want to die young, fine. But there aren't many worse ways to die than lung cancer. It's still not too late to get your 10 years back: quit now, and get a chest x-ray. Please.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

In A Small Town

Hays, Kansas. A very well preserved (but closed) movie theater circa late '40s - mid '50s. I'm sure this can be converted into a very useful auditorium or community theater.

Hays, Kansas. When you're 1500 miles from the real Statue of Liberty, you do your best to bring the lady to the people.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Matrix? or, Life In Right Angles

Taken from somewhere over Iowa.

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4

A rainy day in Watertown did little to dampen the spirit of the day.

A Direct Hit!

Congratulations to NASA on another successful mission. Find out more about Deep Impact here.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Independence Day

Main Street in the city in which I live. Tomorrow, July 4, thousands of people will line this street, and Main Streets all across this country, to celebrate the 229th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. This is a scene that will be repeated in hundreds of towns and cities, large and small, across this great nation. For me, this is the one event that continues, despite the fractionalization of our culture, to draw citizenry from all walks of life, all stations, to one place to celebrate what it was that got us here. The Declaration of Independence forged this nation, it gave a fractured populace a focus, a vision. Please remember this as you visit your parade tomorrow.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

My First Flight

Here I am at Watertown Municipal Airport, taking advantage of a Christmas present from my wife. We were in the air in a Cessna 172 for about 30 minutes, I performed a couple of turns, and we returned back to the airport. It was a beautiful day, and a wonderful experience. Thanks to my wife!

And in the interest of disclosure, here is the intrument panel showing we are descending out of 3600 feet to prepare for landing. What a blast!

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Take on the News

Okay. I said I wouldn't get political, but a couple of events have gotten my attention. The outcome of either one could shape our culture in the this country for the next couple of decades.

First, the pending retirement of U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Conner and the anticipated retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist mean that our president will have his chance to shape the future of judicial review in this country for a very long time. I fervently hope he will do the right thing and select candidates that reflect the totality of this country rather than the desires of a vocal minority. I will only say that a 51% to 49% electoral victory is most certainly NOT a mandate.

Second, fair use under the First Amendment may not be dead, but it is certainly on life support. The ruling by the Supreme Court that allows big media to sue P2P software makers for damages does nothing but serve to protect big business at the expense of innovation. Not to mention the fact that artists and musicians who are forced into the system don't even own their own content. The industry is in transition, and things will change whether the MPAA and RIAA like it or not.

On a lighter note....Argentina play Nigeria on Saturday for the World Youth Soccer Championship. Argentina will be looking for some happy news to make up for the disappointment of losing the Confederations Cup final to Brazil by 4-1. Have a great weekend!

Idaho, April '05

When you get off the beaten path, you take some risks. On the road between Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho.


Well, here we go. Welcome to my blog. My very first blog. Okay, nobody ever accused me of being an early adopter. I work as a Training Specialist for a software company located in southeastern Wisconsin. Yes people, there's more to Wisconsin than just cheese and beer. And yes, we do have tech in the midwest. I've had the good fortune of having traveled across this great nation, and even some other countries around the world. Just recently I started taking my digital camera with me on the road. The response I've gotten from the people who have seen my photos has been positive, and I'm hoping a blog will be a better way of getting the pictures out there. I guess flicker would work, too, but I haven't checked that out yet. Anyway, my camera is a Kodak Easyshare LS743. It's a good basic shooter, with a good Auto setting yet enough features to give you as much control over the shot as you want. Like I said in the description, I don't intend to get very political, but then again, I might. I will also endeavor to highlight some of those things that I'm interested in. I think if you hang around long enough, you'll get to know me fairly well. That's all for now so again, welcome, and enjoy.