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Joe Jenett's dailywebthing

Saturday, April 7, 2001

     This has been digital photo tips week at Internet Brothers. This query came in the mail today from a reader in Ohio: "I just bought a [digital camera brand deleted to protect the innocent] and I really like it except for the digital zoom. If I take a picture without using the zoom, it comes out extremely detailed, but when I use the zoom the pictures look a little hazy. Any suggestions?"

     Colorado Bro's response, "Welcome to the world of digital photography. Digital zoom works by saving only a portion of the image coming through the lens. Your camera has the ability to capture images of 2.1 megapixels. Digital zoom only saves a small center portion of what's coming through the lens and the resulting image may be only one megapixel (more or less). That's why you can see a noticeable difference when you blow it up on your computer screen or print it. The good thing is that digitally zoomed photos don't use as much of your camera's memory. The bad thing is that they don't look as good big."

     "I looked at the specs for your camera and while it has some impressive features, it apparently doesn't have an optical zoom lens. Optical zoom works by using glass lenses to magnify the scene and project it onto the entire 2.1 megapixel CCD (like a traditional 35mm film camera with a zoom lens). Next time, consider an optical rather than digital zoom. Hope this helps."


     Went to the internist to discuss my medical problems. Actually got to spend 45 minutes with him. Apparently the insurance companies haven't got hold of their practices yet. He ordered three new blood tests that weren't in the initial screen. DHEA, which is adrenal gland function, Vitamin B-12 levels and an Epstein-Barr titers screen were on the orders. Based on the results, an endocrinologist may be next.

     Mainly though, he definitely agreed that I am suffering major depression. I don't disagree, I just think there's something else wrong too. He seemed very interested in all the problems I've experienced with SSRI anti-depressant tolerance. He told me to take a complete break from all meds for a couple weeks while we wait for the blood lab to do their job, then wants me to try Effexor XR. This drug combines norepinephren with smaller serotonin levels that may give me more energy without the incoherence difficulties.

     I've been doing investigation on the Internet to see if there is any research into the effect of SSRI medication on the obviously altered brain chemistry of recovering alcoholics. I haven't found anything yet, but I can't help but wonder if all the damage I did to my brain from 20+ years of heavy drinking causes the drug therapy to work differently than it should.

     My parents came up from Florida to visit this weekend because of concern over my continuing health dilemma. It means a lot to me just having them here for support.

Friday, April 6, 2001

     Please channel some positive energy toward Phoenix today. Trust me on this one.

     "Hello, my name is Patti McEwin. I'm in my car on the side of the road, and I have a girl in my car that's been assaulted..." [more]

     A reader of the IB Digital Photography Tips sent in this question. "Can you create hyperlinks in a QTVR movie? I'd like to do a panorama of an open classroom environment in a 4th grade school for my teacher certification students to use. Ideally, they'd pan around and, for example, be able to zoom in and click on a hyperlinked part of the image (like an image map hyperlink). This would pop up a window with text description or other multimedia material. Thanks."

     Internet Brother Dave responded, "Sure, it's called a QTVR Scene. A QTVR scene is a collection of media (nodes) such as panoramas, objects and links to WWW pages (local or off-site). They are assembled to create a virtual environment that the user can interact with and explore. You define hot spots in your panorama which link to the nodes. Apple's QuickTime VR Authoring Studio has a tool called the Scene Maker which enables you to create them. I expect some of the other good QTVR software out there can do it too. I assure you, what you propose is indeed possible."

     The Encyclopedia of Life Sciences is the most ambitious reference source ever produced in the biological sciences. Planned, written and edited by over 5,000 of the world’s leading scientists, ELS will be launched as a fully integrated subscription web product in May 2001. ELS will comprise more than 3,000 articles and will feature sophisticated search functionality, personalization features, and over 30,000 cross-reference links. Embryonic ELS is available online now at no charge. This unique publication provides a window through which to view and browse the ELS article database prior to official publication in May 2001.

Thursday, April 5, 2001

Kaycee Nicole's Living Colors      Miss Kaycee has been busy. Thank you sweetie — I never had my very own WebKCard before. Everyone be sure to send along get well wishes to Kaycee's mom Debbie. She's a bit under the weather right now. Y'know, I always wondered what that meant. Is she standing out in the rain or something?

     Let's all share some good thoughts with Kellea for later today. If prayer is part of your makeup, that would be nice too.

     PC memory may never be cheaper. If you're looking for a quick performance boost on a tired machine, now may be the time to look into more RAM. I just added a 128 meg 100 mhz DIMM to my 1998 vintage Gateway G6 PII-350 for only US$86. The place I started was the Computer Shopper memory configurator.

     If like me, Google has become your favorite search engine, you may be interested to know it can now be used as a telephone directory. The new Phone Book feature works in several combinations of name, zip code, city, state, area code and street address. If you have an unlisted number with your local phone company, there is a form to opt-out of Google as well.

     Speaking of search engines, AltaVista has a new Add URL policy that appears quite ground breaking. This completely new system went up at the site about two weeks ago, one that promises faster addition of web pages to the index, as long as you are not using automated submit software. When you access the Add URL page, it will display a submission code that must be entered. The code is a series of letters and numbers, but because they are displayed in a graphic format, automatic submission tools cannot read the information. As a result, AltaVista says the new system has stopped submission robots dead in their tracks, at least for now. (via Search Engine Watch)

     This news is somewhat dated, but it's timely for what I've been going through in recent months. According to the Baltimore City Paper, "Studies show that anti-depressants are far from the miracle cures they're sold as — in fact, they're less effective than psychotherapy. But in 1999, more than 130 million prescriptions were written for depression and other mental-health symptoms, at a total cost of $8.58 billion."

     "With that much money at stake, you can bet the drug companies will do whatever it takes to get a bigger slice of the pie. That's why they spend $5 billion to send sales reps to doctors' offices, giving expensive presents to encourage physicians to prescribe the right meds. And that's why they contribute to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The alliance, which calls itself a grass-roots organization, pushes a program called "assertive community treatment," in which program workers visit patient's homes daily and watch as they take their medicine."

     "NAMI never disclosed its drug-company funding — but Mother Jones researchers found $11.72 million in industry contributions to the group in two and a half years. The largest single donor: Eli Lilly and Co., maker of Prozac." It's no wonder the first two months of Celexa that I took were free samples provided by my physician.

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

     What's been up with Weblogs.com, or perhaps more appropriately, what's been down? Just from casual observance, it appears to have a looping process in the XML/RPC interface. Don't know if they've done any server reboots, but it has essentially been useless for about four days now. Really makes you appreciate the "what's been updated lately" feature when it isn't working. This also has a negative affect on Radio Userland WCOTD.

     Unlike my experience last week with the psychiatrist from Hell (just a legalized dope pusher), my new psychoanalyst is a very charming lady, about my age, perhaps a couple years older. Spent 90 minutes with her. In this intoductory meeting she asked most of the questions, I answered as best I could, convincing myself to be open-minded. It mostly worked.

     She is a Gestalt therapist, a discipline that helps people stand aside from their usual way of thinking so they can tell the difference between what is actually being perceived and felt in the current situation and what is residue from the past. The goal of Gestalt phenomenological exploration is awareness, or insight. Awareness without systematic exploration is not ordinarily sufficient to develop insight. Therefore, Gestalt therapy uses focused awareness and experimentation to achieve insight. How the therapist and the patient experience their relationship is of special concern for this manner of treatment. I would say our relationship started out on the right footing.

     I was buying it until nearly the end when my logical left brain impulses imposed a skepticism upon the first therapeutic experiment. She asked me to sit with an upright posture, close my eyes, and imagine holes in the bottoms of my feet. I was to feel energy arising from the Earth, through my feet, up my legs and into my torso. Whatever. Any ole way, she said that's OK — she wants to focus in the future on getting more of my thought process into right brain activities. My homework assignment until next week is to be conscious of my breathing and concentrate on making it deeper.

     Next up, on Friday, is an appointment with an internist to look more closely at the physical aspects of my ailments. Special thanks to Susan and my Dad for polite nudging in this direction. He may not find anything, but I'm sure I've had enough of the synapse serotonin bath from all the drug therapy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

     Great story; at least if you're a geek like me. MetaFilter creator Matt Haughey takes a trip down memory lane to visit the original IMP. Pictures too.

     Google search of the day: "sex in West Virginia." It's like they were skeptical or something. You bet sex happens here! Well, by here, I mean West Virginia. I know what you're thinking. Sex, West Virginia, kissing cousins, gene pool. Forget that myth right now! That kind of sex doesn't happen here. Well, by here, I mean between this chair and this keyboard. Anyway, they ended up at my about page. Go figure.

     I've had visitors to Lucid Confusion in the past 24 hours from Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie-Mellon, Tufts, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Long Beach, MIT, the Universities of Colorado, Arizona and Montana just among those I noticed. Not the whole IB site mind you, just LC and its archives. Strange. Wonder if they're trying to figure out what's wrong with me? Speaking of that, counseling begins later today. What's next? Maybe John will save some room for me in the loony bin.

     Congrats to NCAA basketball national champions Duke University for the men and Notre Dame for the women. Sorry Jann. I know you must be disappointed.

     If your web site is hosted by ADDR.com, you need to read this MSNBC report immediately:

     "A computer criminal claims to have stolen personal information on 46,000 customers from Web hosting company ADDR.com. The data includes account names and passwords that could be used to alter Web site content, as well as credit card information. Several victims of the heist report finding thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges on the credit cards in recent weeks. ADDR.com has so far not commented on the alleged heist."

Monday, April 2, 2001

     Would you go to Machu Pichu if you could? Just wondering. If you can't make it there, this place is a lot closer. No Incan ruins, but everything else.

     Heartiest congratulations Lemur! It's a great feeling, innit?

     Baseball is here! All is well with the world.

     Wendy Peck has a new book out about Dreamweaver 4. She hasn't put anything on her site about it yet, and I refuse to link to Amazon.com because of the tracking cookies in their Honor System Program. Just wanted to put in a plug for Wendy. (via iblogu)

     Power of Jakob? NOT. Just some April Foolishness. Yeah yeah. I know. Speaking of April Fools, Ann's TeenaWeena's Kewel Blog had me giggling all day.

Sunday, April 1, 2001

     Ok, here's the deal about yesterday's Top 10 List. You probably thought I just forgot #1, right? Or that the apparently clickable link to #1 did absolutely nothing? Made you want to pull your hair out, didn't it? Come on, admit it. You at least thought I had mucked up the code. Well, if you got frustrated, or if you clicked that bogus link more than three times with nothing happening, or if you actually viewed the source of the page to see what was going on — then that's the #1 Sign You've Been At Your Computer Too Long. So there. Go climb a mountain or something.

     Oh, before I forget, a very happy 86th birthday wish to my absolute favorite great-aunt Irene in Tampa, Florida. Hugs and kisses. Luv ya, Jeff.

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. It's a little known fact that this is National Computer Professional Week. So be sure to tell your favorite network analyst or system administrator what a great job they're doing. Hey, give them a big hug while you're at it. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     John McCabe is one of those computer professionals, a MCSE, living in the New York/New Jersey area. He has one of the great domains of all time, also the name of his weblog, Loony.org. It fits his personality to a T. One of the funniest writers I've encountered in the blog community, John is also quite well known for his HandsOffMy.org Campaign. Last week John celebrated two anniversaries and described the experiences in "14 Words." Here are a few excerpts:

     "My company took me to dinner last night. I have worked there for five years, this month. That may not seem very long, but it is several generations in the computer field. If you factor in the fact that I was the first full-time employee of this company, after the owners at least, the time is pretty significant..."

     "You get to choose the restaurant," the office manager said. Actually, den-mother is more like it. "Anywhere you want, take your pick." My request for the McDonalds in Maui was flatly rejected (I would have even settled for drive-thru), so I chose the most expensive french restaurant in town. There wasn't as much flak for that as I had anticipated."

     "I lived in a basement apartment in a crappy town when they found me. T-shirt and jeans and a baseball cap was all I would ever be seen in. Attitude and ego, ambition, but no confidence, I worked for a tiny little mail order store, holding it together, and paying the bills...barely. My home was $480 a month and worth maybe half that — it was a hole. It was my hole, though, and I knew that somehow, some way, I would get out of it, no matter what. A few weeks later I was in a pinstriped suit in downtown Manhattan working for an investment bank. My tax bill that year was higher than my salary from the previous one..."

     "...Some posturing and a very public battle with a powerful Director left me viciously forced out, for a reason that I still am razzed about to this very day. This was all reduced to two sentences in [a] poem. Cleverly, though. I laughed. I didn't laugh at the time. The significance of what happened didn't take hold for a long while. One day I was flying to London like it was going to the beach for the weekend, the next I was smoking a cigarette behind a strip mall watching a train go by..."

     "...Time passed and the wounds healed ... time heals all wounds that don't bleed you to death first. I could write a thousand pages of what happened from then to now, but for the moment I have said enough. The curious fact is that sipping my wine while turning beet red, this whole event was recounted in 14 words. The event that made me give up my quest for a hollow image ... the ripples of which are still tearing down the world around me, as I continue to seek and destroy the unseemly remnants of that creation and assimilate the pieces of him that still belong."

     "That was two years ago, this month ... reduced to two sentences, in a humorous glance. The most earth-shattering, personal revelation of my life. In two years time, I wonder what events of today will be reduced to a mere two sentences? When the paragraph of now is written in future time's pages, what will become of what I do today?" — John McCabe







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