Archive for April, 2006

Weekend stuff

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

I did a little traveling this weekend.
First, here’s a house that I saw in Cold Springs. It has a very pitched roof with hips to the corners and a weird doghouse dormer on each of the hips. Larry and I decided that the upstairs room were hazards to walking with all of the odd angles. The residents must constantly bang their heads.

This was next to a garage sale in Cold Springs. We didn’t buy anything. That’s Larry grimacing.

Saturday, the tree people came and trimed the spruce tree that was hanging over the house. I told them that they took off too many branches, but they wouldn’t put them back.

This is Stormville Airport Flea market. It looks very large, but there was nothing but overpriced crap.

I got this nice Astatic 200s microphone at Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market (about 20 miles from Stormville). This is a fairly sought after mic and rarely found in such good condition. $15! I will fix it up and put a good element in it and ebay for 5 to 10 times that. Too bad the element was bad. You never find a good one. An original element would be worth a hundred or more. But if you drop these mics, the element is busted.

Web Hosting Blues

Friday, April 28th, 2006

When my websites went down last week, I decided that it was a bad thing to put all of my eggs in one basket. I searched around and settled on a web hosting company – They had a rich feature set and had a nice “reseller” package for $12.50 per month. This allows me to place a large number of domains on their server, but I can also create “customers” who have their own web space. Carlos, Sonny Jr, Skip, Chris and others can now have the whole 9 yards of web hosting including total control of email, site designers and installed packages. I act as though I am selling web space, but I can charge whatever I want or give it away for free.

The trouble is, that HostMerit is a little slow on customer responsiveness. Their help desk appears to be in India. Getting them to fix the simple issues associated with getting the account set up, is like pulling teeth. First, the unlimited domain feature did not work. Next, I could not give a customer multiple domains. (I still don’t have that working right.)

The servers are snappy and the connection is fast. I notice that their disks are over 90% full, and I wonder that I might blow their limits when I start uploading all of the data that I expect to transfer (about a gig).

If it all works out, I will have all of the small websites on this server, including a few of the better paying ones. I will spread the load over the two servers. If I sell or give away web hosting, it will have to be with the understanding that certain aspects are out of my control. Some of my free website users seemed quite upset that they got the account suspension notice. None, were as upset as I was. I lost a couple of hundred bucks.


Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

This is my cousin’s band’s website. Zack is a guitar player for The Prix and I hear they’re getting quite a bit of air time on the LA radio stations.

THE PRIX Free Websites

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Years ago, I used to host quite a bit of data at ASPWeb. They are now called I stopped using them when the original site was hacked and the email changed. For years my page read U R OWNED. Their customer support team ignored me.

But Free web space is – well – free. You can’t have too many incoming links, so when they sent me an email that they were hosting free pages again, I quickly formatted a page and set it up. The free part doesn’t include a domain so the page has an the unfortunate URL:

They don’t have ftp access so you have to use their sitebuilder. It’s far better than the free microsoft one at Microsoft Office Live, but Microsoft gives you a free domain. I haven’t figured a way to liberate the domain from Microsoft and use it at a real site.

Free2w is fine for a business card site or a small personal page. I haven’t explored the options much, but I suspect you could even host a blog there if you wanted to.

I’m Giving Away Free Content

Monday, April 24th, 2006

I discovered a way to use php to read zip files and display the contents of as a web page. In this way, I can zip up large amounts of data in one file and then display it as though I had 1000 seprarate pages. This is my latest get rich slowly scheme.

It has several advantages. Zipped files take up less room. I only have to upload 6 files. I can offer then for a free download and include a hidden link back to my pages. The pages themselves should get some page views. Anyone who downloads the data will point back to me and increase my page ranking.

Here’s a few of the databases that I’ve finished.

Dreams – This is created from a mannual of dreams and has
2200 pages of symbols and signs that might appear in a dream and what they mean.
view dreams content download dreams (zip file 537k, 2200 pages).

Crafts – This is a collection of craft ideas that have been gleaned from internet user groups.
view crafts contentdownload crafts (zip file 190k, 150 pages).

Fitness – A collection of articles on fitness.
view fitness content
download fitness (zip file 496k, 154 pages).
Business Letters – A collection of Business Correspondence Templates.

view Business Letters contentdownload Business Letters (zip file 160k, 327 pages).

Electronics Terms – A collection of definitions of Electronics Terms.
view Electronics Terms contentdownload Electronics Terms (zip file 408k, 2300 pages).

NameAGalaxy rewritten in PHP

Monday, April 24th, 2006

With the loss of Java on my host, I had to rewrite to use PHP instead. This is a good thing. It is 10 times quicker and ALWAYS works. The old system was iffy and I think it was the main problem with the server crashes and my account getting suspended. I found a whole bunch of new certificates and I will be offering a choice for printing out when I get a minute.

This certificate printing process has some potential and I might offer a generic version of the software with a choice of fancy fonts. Fake diplomas and certificates of appreciation come to mind. Also it could be a neat way for instructors to print out various certificates of achievement. is taken. I am blanking. If you have time go to the domain source (great domain tools) and see if you can find a good name for a free certificates site. I am suffering from Monday sickness and I can’t think of one.

Free Name A Galaxy: “Other sites charge $50 or more to name a star. names a galaxy (trillions of stars) for free. You print your own certificates on your own printer.”

Culpeo Chilean Wine

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

I like a glass of wine with my evening meal. I can’t afford expensive California or European wines, so I have become familiar with Australian and South American wines. I think that Chile and Argentina have the world’s best wines right now.

Australia and New Zealand are emulating the bland California wines and like the California wineries, they are trying to avoid disturbing anyone rather than producing a good wine. Their wines are better than the California wines in the same price range, but they are shallow in taste and execution. Perfect for American tastes, but not bold enough for me.

South American wineries are producing good classic European type wines. I opened this bottle of Culpeo Cabernet and I immediately smelled the big oaky aroma of an aged French Bordeaux. This reminds me of the Medocs and Bordeauxs that I used to buy for $1.99 in Cooper Square in NYC in 1969 and take home to my squalid flat on Avenue A. I would grill a steak and sip wine and it was a better high than any of the drugs that flowed so freely back then. Good food and fine wine will always be my idea of time well spent.

The Chilean Culpea wine pictured here is available in one Liquor store in New Jersey and this was the last bottle that they had. I can’t find it on the internet except on menus for restaurants in England. Ask your liquor store owner to buy a case or two. It comes in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc. Well worth it at $6.99 a bottle.

Wet Sunday

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

There has been quite a bit of rain in the last 48 hours. In West Nyack, every bit of land has been developed and grass planted. This has ruined the natural watershed so that when it rains, the Germonds Creek overflows its banks. The road was flooded this morning, but when I went to take pictures, the stream was back in its banks, but it looked very scary.

The dogwoods were starting to bloom in the rain

It’s not very often when we have a spring where all the trees are in bloom at the same time. This is the cherry tree.

Trenton Computer Festival -Wash out

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

I’ve gone to the TCF since 1980 or so. I’ve never missed one, but I don’t think that I will be going next year. The time of the computer show has passed. This one was rained out and there were only a few outdoor vendors. Here’s a self portrait. I was soaked. It really came down. It was far worse than the time Arthur Sanchez and I nearly got sent to OZ when the tornado hit the festival (1998?)

Inside there was an antique tube electronics display, but no amps or mics.

The indoor part was just a cheesey show with lots of vendors selling the same crap that you can buy at Below is a composite shot that I used software to stitch together.

I’m Back

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

One of my Java applications went berserk and used 97% of the cpu at the server where I host these pages and others. I was in trouble already because of the bandwidth from my websites and they used it as an excuse to suspend my account.
I agreed to remove the java apps from the website and they let me come back. I will, however, be moving to a new hosting company. I was only with because they supported Java. There are other web hosting companies that would have contacted me before suspending me. They are cheaper.
I contracted with a hosting company as a “reseller” that means that I buy some web space and I can re-sell it. I will be using all (or most) of it myself, but it is a convenient way to manage many domains.
It’s good to be back.

Ducks at the Lake

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

I put a bunch of stuff up at my Cat Blog. I took a picture of these odd ducks – small with a white beak. Can you identify them? (turns out they are not ducks at all, but American Coots.) They clustered together in a tight pack.

Image Scarfing

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

I often use images from other websites here. I usually take the image, resize it, and then host it myself. If I am linking to a website, though, I will sometimes use a reference to their image. It is bad form to use an image hosted somewhere else and then not give the website the traffic in return.
Somebody has stolen to my Space Age Pop blog entry, including the image at left. They stole the whole entry and the link to the image on It costs me bandwidth and I get nothing in return.
I got back at them by plastering my URL on the image.
The guy who did this is now giving me free advertising.
I’m still not happy about the plagiarism of my blog entry.

City of Dreams

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

City of Dreams: “J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, teams with Seeing Ear Theatre to bring you an exclusive, all-new audio drama anthology series featuring tales of dreamers, madmen and fanatics.”

Software rewrite – No more Java

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

I re-wrote the Harp-L Archives software in PHP that I use on my website. It turns out Java is too tempermental and crashed three or four times a month for up to a day at a time. For those who are interested in the technical details, I wrote my own PHP program to read ZIP files like a database. PHP 4 doesn’t have a Zip Library built in (at least not by default) so I had to write my own.
Java was thought to be the language of the future, but in practice it breaks easily and crashes regularly. If a site is running very slow, you can be sure that it’s Java based.
The new software uses a Mod-rewrite trick so it looks like 111,000 web pages, but it’s only one PHP file and 10 zip files. Pretty cool stuff, if you’re a programmer. Harp players will be less impressed.