: views from the Hill

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Computer Bits August 2002 - SETI and Art Bell and UFOCity

The August column will include some selection from the following: [still collecting]

New Frontiers in Science
Art Bell
SETI Institute
SETI Search for Life at space.com
UFOCity - Peter Robbins, meister
Robbins' links
UFOlogy - with a UK focus
UFO Magazine
Robbins' Webwatch column for UFO Magazine
UFO World
UFO World Links
Institute for UFO Research
Institute for UFO Research - Links
John Greenwalde's Black Vault
David Sereda - NASA UFOs
Bruce Maccabee - UFO research


UFOSeek - the paranormal and UFO search engine
Create your own alien Web site


Area 51
UFO Alliance
Alien Abduction
Paranormal Place

Friday, May 31, 2002

[FOOD] Computer Bits July 2002 - days of wine and more wine

Guess what the July column covers.


Wine Bork

ZAP - Zin Advocates and Producers


The Wine Institute is "the voice for California wine" -- a public policy advocacy.

National Wine Centre of Australia - provides similar function


The Zin Zealot

Robin Garr's Wine Lovers Page

Wine and Winemaking from Lisa Shea at About.com

Tom Cannavan's Wine Pages - updated daily. UK base

How to taste and serve wine


Wine Spectator online bills itself as "the most comprehensive wine Web site in the world" and it well may be.

Food and Wine magazine online

winebusiness.com - for industry professionals

Wine Access - Canada's Essential Guide to Good Wine & Spirits

Wine Enthusiast magazine (and more!)

The Wine Advocate - "The only really INDEPENDENT guide to fine wine." in either French or English

Wine & Dine - the electronic magazine == Food and Wine

Wine Press Northwest - our passion is Pacific Northwest wines

Wine Press Northwest covers the Oregon wine country

Wine on the Web - the TALIKING wine magazine

Wine Enthusiast magazine


Winestuff.com - when you need decanters, glassware or corkscrews.

Wine Searcher.com is "a gateway to specialist wines"

WineBase - the Ultimate Cellar Management and Wine Reference Software

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Computer Bits June 2002 - passions on the Web

Guess what the June column covers.

Jerome's soft drink can collection

Eric Harshbarger's LEGO® website

Other LEGO® pages

LEGO® builders

Silly Putty pages

More Silly Putty

Castles of the World - Jaime Fernandez Jr & al.

Phil and Becky Vacara's photographs of medieval sites

Hamish Reid's California Driving - a Survival Guide

Someone LOVES his Miata

Someone likes to collect um. unusual names

Art Makosinski's passion for Henry Burr

Jason Scott has a passion for text files

Who would buy that?

Michael Thyen collects 555 numbers from movies, television and radio

Rob Cockerham cares about "how much is inside?"

Sarah's origami

Clay Randall's money origami

a collection of links to folks with a passion for antique radios

The DeadLetter Office - write your own "farewell" letter

This to That - glue advice and more

Enrico Tedeschi has a passion for old radios

Paul Robert's Virtual Typewriter Museum

The Jell-o Museum

The Ancient AOL Disk and Memorabilia Museum

The Brick Testament

Airline Meals

Geekbabe likes Peeps!

Pen Spinning

Rubber Band Balls on the Web

Scott Bartlett's Rubber Band Ball

World's Largest Masking Tape Ball

Gladys Dwindlebimmers Ralston Gallery of the Unidentifiable

The Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

Crackerpacks - collecting firecracker labels

Computer Bits May 2002 - art museums and more

The May Computer Bits column is titled "Surfing the Internet: Magritte, Monet, Matisse and Munch" and should be out in print and up on the Web at the beginning of May. The column covers art search engines and image searching on the Web. Also included are links to some of the online art galleries and museums:

http://www.tate.org.uk The Tate has put almost its entire collection on its site - 50,000 works. Each work is described in detail, including title, date and media.

http://www.npg.org.uk/live/index.asp - The National Portrait Gallery in London

http://www.vam.ac.uk/ The Victoria & Albert

http://www.louvre.fr/louvrea.htm The Louvre

http://www.musee-orsay.fr:8081/ - The Musee d'Orsay

http://www.nga.gov/search/search.htm The USAn National Gallery

Great stuff.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Another blog - this one for internet-resources.com/writers

Decided to setup another blog -- one dedicated to writerly links.


http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/ has over 1500 links that are checked for deadwood regularly. The links are sorted into nine major groups and almost one hundred subgroups. The site has been mentioned favorably in writers newsletters, on writers' sites, on mailing lists and in newsgroups and is visited by writers from all corners of the world.

I plan to use this new blog to pop up descriptions of some of the links I'm adding to http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/ and descriptions of some of the links that are already there.

This blog will be a means of getting a look at what's new at http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/ and a tour of what's there.

At the bottom of each item that has a link from http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/, I'll add a reference to where on the site you can find that link and others like it. The reference will be xxx|yyy, meaning you can find the link in yyy subgroup of the xxx group.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Computer Bits April 2002 - digital photos

The April column for Computer Bits flew off this morning a day ahead of deadline. I finally settled on a focus for the "digital photo" issue -- wrote a column covering photo "album" sites on the Web. I also snuck in mention of Dick Harper's photo/art gallery and Kathy Vincent's gallery of watercolors. Beautiful stuff.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Computer Bits Feb 2002 - updates to links

URL Updates - 'twixt then and now, the following URLs referenced in the Feb 2002 Blog article for Computer Bits have changed, disappeared, taken a hike. It's too late for the print edition and the magazine doesn't update the Web version either, so here's a list of things that have changed:
  • The Mercury News, wouldn't you know, revamped their whole site after I submitted my article. The new link for Dan Gillmor's blog is http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/columnists/dan_gillmor/ejournal/
  • I sent a note John Paczkowski at the Merc to find a link to the 9-11 blog that was also referenced in the article. John sez they're moving the archival stuff over to the new Web location and it should be available in a few days.
  • Dave Winer's http://www.weblogs.com has been re-vamped for speed and currently hangs Netscape 4.7+ If you'd like to check out the link, use IE.
  • Ev's blog at http://www.evhead.com/ doesn't show all content with Netscape. It did at the beginning of January, honest! If you'd like to check the site out, use IE.

Four links out of thirty-two and it's less than two months since I sent the article in. Ouch!

Saturday, February 23, 2002

More URLs with digital photos and albums

More URLs with the photo theme.

My friend Ravi just sent me a link to some photo sets at Yahoo! of his lovely daughter and his two-month-old son. When we got back from Nepal-Bhutan-Tibet, one of my fellow travelers sent a link to her sets of photos from the trip. Resources available for photo sharing and/or printing, storage on the Web
  • http://www.activeshare.com/ - Adobe ActiveShare. Free download (like Adobe Acrobat). Photo correction (red-eye, cropping, "instant" fix). Direct connection to Shutterfly.com for sharing &c.
  • http://www.cartogra.com/home/home.asp - Cartogra from HP Photo: set up albums, order photos, fiddle with photos (make ePostcards, greeting cards, &c.). HP Photo Manager lets you setup thumbnails for easy browsing, upload large numbers of photos at once, &c.
  • http://www.ClubPhoto.com - ClubPhoto.com lets you send in your film or upload digital pictures. Albums. Order photos. Order gift merchandise.
  • http://www.digitalfridge.com/ - Digital Fridge "a place to create and share online collections of your favorite photos and videos." Free. File size limits.
  • http://www.dotphoto.com/ - dotPhoto. Upload, build albums, share, print, sell your photos. No "adult" content.
  • http://ezprints.mye-pix.com/ - EZPrints.com - view, order, print photos.
  • http://www.fototime.com/ - FotoTime. Software to download. Fee-based after 30d free trial. $23.95 -> 250MB of storage. Each additional 250MB costs $23.95.
  • http://picturecenter.kodak.com/ - Kodak Picture Center Online. View, enhance, albums, share, print. Cannot download high resolution pictures. Must order Photo CD from Picture Center. Max 200 orginal pictures included in free storage. Account is kept active if a roll of film has been developed or pictures ordered in last 30d.
  • http://www.ofoto.com - Ofoto "a Kodak company". Get your photos online, share, "enhance" and print.
  • http://www.photoaccess.com/ - PhotoAccess.com - like EZPrints - upload images, click to order, photos sent. Also photo gifts. Permanent unlimited online storage FREE. Friends have access with "key" and can order too.
  • http://www.photoloft.com/default_new.asp? - PhotoLoft.com. Fee-based. Online photo album. Creative photo greetings. Share photos.
  • http://www.photopoint.com - PhotoPoint.com - "is currently offline"
  • http://www.Printroom.com/ - Printroom.com. Online photo-finishing services. Upload. Share. Print. Free 200MB of storage. Professionals can sell photography over the Web.
  • http://www.Shutterfly.com/index.jsp - Shutterfly.com. Web-based photo service. Storage. Photo correction (red-eye, cropping *c.) Free, unlimited storage. Share. Film developing, too.
  • http://photos.yahoo.com/ - Yahoo! Photos. Upload, enhance (crop, rotate, &c), share, order, photo gifts & cards.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Image searching on the Web

Photographs online - resources to track them down Specialized collections Art
  • http://www.nga.gov/search/search.htm - Search the National Gallery (USAn)
  • http://gallery.euroweb.hu/welcome.html - Search the Web Gallery of Art: > 9,200 "digital reproductions of European paintings and sculptures created between the years 1150 and 1800" includes commentary and artists' bios. Fourteen "guided tours" present collections of paintings with commentary. e.g. "Tour #13: English art in the 15th-18th centuries Description: This tour presents English painting and sculpture from the 15th to the 18th century, i.e. the Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, and Rococo periods. After a long period of dominance by a series of foreign-born artists, English art produced in the 18th century some great artists like Hogarth, Reynolds and Gainsborough." Some tours require browsers using frames. You can add period-specific background music from the Classical Archives
  • http://www.artcyclopedia.com/ - Art Cyclopedia - the fine art search engine. Designed by John Malyon. As of a year ago indexes "700 leading arts sites, and offer more than 24,000 links directly to an estimated 80,000 works by 7,000 different artists."

Friday, February 08, 2002

Links to blog articles

Must be in the air:
The Fortune and PCMagazine references courtesy of Jason Shellen in a note to blogger.com's blog on 08Feb. The Time reference courtesy of Ev in a note to blogger.com's blog on 03Feb. The Business 2.0 and Wired references also courtesy of Ev. The remaining article references courtesy of http://blogdex.media.mit.edu/ -- BlogDex -- from MIT, which strives to track pop culture by ranking sites by the number of references to those sites found in the blogging community.

The info page http://blogdex.media.mit.edu/info.asp provides links to yet more information on the blogging phenomenon, including some links I didn't provide in the article.

Blogs and blogs and blogs

The February Computer Bits went up yesterday. I've already received a handful of nice notes. One of the bloggers I mentioned in the article wants a hard copy for her scrapbook: I put in a request to the Big Kahuna on her behalf.

I added a zillion links to the http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/ site this past day or two. Most additions were to the [reference] and [business] sections.

The http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/ counter spilled over the two thousand count yesterday.

I was doing a little happy-dance until Joanne Jacobs mentioned to me that her http://www.readjacobs.com/ -- Read Jacobs -- blog (mentioned in the Computer Bits article) is getting a thousand hits A DAY, over twenty times my hit rate. At least she's given me a goal to shoot for.

Wonder how many of those hits are from fans who miss her column in the San Jose Mercury News?

Maybe if I wrote about more interesting things?

Monday, February 04, 2002

Tracking those hits and tweaking the sites

Finished up the March column on RPGamers on the 'net yesterday and sent it along to the powers-that-be at Computer Bits .

Noticed that someone had clicked through to this blog from my February Computer Bits article on blogs and hustled over to see if the February issue was up yet. Nope. Must've been someone on staff checking the link I had in the article. Should be up soon, though.

The transfer of towse.com from ciHost to the new host completed during the last couple days of January. February 1 I get a note from ciHost that they'd charged my account for $240 for the next year's service. Fired back a note saying, in effect, um. no. You aren't hosting me anymore, or hadn't you noticed?

I've finally got all of my Web sites registered with the same registrar ( http://www.godaddy.com), which means I can keep better track of when things expire. GoDaddy is also a cheap registrar. Check it out.

The FREE Bravenet visit counters have been working out fabulously. Nice to see http://www.internet-resources.com/writers get the attention it has been. Yesterday, a Sunday, it got ninety hits, mainly because someone who saw it liked it and posted about it to a handful of writing groups. I can also see when people come through from searches in Google News archives and check out what article of mine they'd clicked through from. Fun. Bravenet lets me choose whether to use the counter as a hit counter or a visit counter (only one count if the person pokes around throughout the site) and also lets me explicitly say "here's my IP address -- don't count any hits I make myself" because, of course, I'm using the links page as my home page and could drive up the stats like nobody's business. Looking for a page counter? Check out http://www.bravenet.com - Bravenet.

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Moved towse.com from ciHost to another provider. Long story there ... cost was just one of the factors. Now I'm testing to make sure the blog will update at its new location.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

More RPG links: caustic commentary courtesy of James Kendall

More RPG links: notes courtesy of James Kendall [jameskendall@mindspring.com]

  • RPG Archive ~ http://www.rpgarchive.com/: a *huge* archive of pre-written adventures, along with links, reviews, and a few other tidbits.
  • BlueTroll ~ http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/byzantium/55/ : This is -the- premier DnD Netbook site online. Had dozens of them the last time I checked over a year ago, and is always being updated. Also had a number of general purpose books like 'Book of Herbs' 'Book of Poisons' ' Historical Weapons' 'Creation of Thieves Guilds' and so forth, as well as hundreds of fan-created DnD stuff. Spells, classes, races, so forth. Don't know if WotC cracked down on that aspect of it or not, but the rest should still be there.
  • Google's list of roleplaying magazines and ezines ~ http://directory.google.com/Top/Games/Roleplaying/Magazines_and_E-zines/ : A nice concise list of online Ezines and RPG mags.
  • Google's roleplaying links ~ http://directory.google.com/Top/Games/Roleplaying : Is where I'm getting a number of these links. Might want to go through it in greater detail on your own. Under the 200+ links for 'World Building', Patricia's page is second on the list.
  • Roleplaying Tips Newsletter ~ http://www.roleplayingtips.com/ : Just found this one and haven't had time to look through it indepth. Looks like a weekly email fanzine that's made up a a couple of "how to GM/Roleplay' articles sent in by subscribers and emailed out to everyone on the list. All the old ones are in archives, and there seems to be some really good advice amidst it all. (After a bit of further reading, it seems that a number of the articles come complete with links to other websites that explore the topic in further detail. Very nice indeed.)
  • GamerJargon.com ~ http://www.gamerjargon.com/ : Admittedly, I don't recognise about half this jargon, but it's a simple primer on most of the gamer/geek terms that've cropped up in the last 10 years from OOC to 'all your base'. Not sure all of them are real, though.
  • Uncle Figgy's Realm ~ http://members.aol.com/dwcope/home.htm Uncle Figgy! The Dear Ann Landers of RPGing. Though the site has sadly gone un-updated since June, it's still a wonderful RPG (and writing) resource. The FAQ section where reader questions on how to deal with powergamers, properly describe scenes, and create believable NPCs are covered and also a small 'so you want to be a writer, eh?' section that talks about what exactly those slushpiles are. The guides, however, are where it's at. There are five of them, written over the course of a few years, each one very indepth and must reads. 'How to GM', 'How to RolePlay', "Roleplaying for Non-roleplayers' (sort of an intro piece to show to your friends when they want to know what it is you do), and my personal favorite 'The Fantasy Guide.' To paraphrase his intro to it: "In bookstores you'll find dozens of books on how to create belivable weapons and armour, but not one on how to create a believable magic system, which is what all of fantasy writing is inherently based on." So he goes into his own ways to create your own homebrew. A *very* nice site.
  • S John Ross' BIG LIST of RPG plots ~ http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm : An interesting page, even from a writing standpoint. A quick summary of the 34 basic RPG plots. Almost every single adventure ever published falls under one of these groupings. Also features common twists to each plot type, and a few links to pages that cover the topic in a more scholarly fashion.
  • RPGNet http://www.rpg.net/ : More a 'what's new in the world of gaming' page then anything else, but a good place to hook into the rumor mill of what's upcoming. Also features pages on 'how to' for game creation, game publishing, as well as job offerings for playtesters and similar sorts.
  • The Malkavian Web page ~ http://www.freeshell.org/~alik/malkavian/ : Malkavians are the 'insane' vampires from the WoD, and this is a page set up with some very good articles about how to realistically portray an insane character beyond the 'walks around in teddybear slippers and wacks people with a fish' (fishmalks) stereotype that seem to crop up. The page also has some miscellaneous vampire stuff, as well as a fair crop of WoD humor. The page (Malchavian Insanity, one of the first links there) where they talk about roleplaying madness is what I nominate this page for, though.

Monday, January 21, 2002


Arguing now with attbi.com over why I deserve my promised billing credit of "two-days-credit-for-every-day-without-service after the changeover from @Home" for the twenty-seven days in December that my cable modem was non-functioning.

attbi.com says my problems had naught to do with the switchover, that the problems appearing when they did was just an amazing coincidence of timing and I don't deserve the credit.

I argue. They repeat their stance. I argue.

If they're selling "good will" along with their assets, their buyer is paying too much.

In honor of the one-hundredth bday of Barnum's Animals [Crackers]
[http://www.nabiscoworld.com/Barnums/], Nabisco will be adding another animal to the menage detroit.

Will it be the penguin, walrus, cobra, or koala bear?

RPG links galore

Collecting together links for role-players on the Web as well as newsgroups and such for the new role-playing sub-section in the Fiction section of the writing links site : http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/

Thursday, January 10, 2002

FindArticles.com is a LookSmart engine attached to a Gale Group archive of articles from more than 300 magazines/journals dating back to 1998.

The magazines available range from Academy of Management Review and Accent on Living to Worldwide Biotech and Wrestling Digest.

The collection includes Sunset Magazine, but knowing that things come and go and disappear without a moment's notice, I think I'll keep the decades of paper Sunset archives I have stashed away for the nonce.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Northern Light is getting out of the search engine biz "in order to focus on the enterprise market" says a story in Internet Week yesterday. David Seuss says "The business model for free, advertising-supported, public Web search has not been developing for us." Question is, though, do they have any idea how many of their enterprise customers came their way because they'd tried that free public Web search and liked it?

Friday, January 04, 2002

I've decided the ATTBI e-mail support is run by a 'bot. There is no other explanation for the lame cut n' paste "answers" I get to serious concerns, like (a) my mail.attbi.com mail service isn't working and (b) the Web-based mail doesn't know my account exists.

I get back a generic "this is how Web-based mail works" note from the friendly, helpful support staff.

I know how Web-based mail works. I used it while my cable modem connection was unusable through December 27th. This afternoon, sometime between 12:30P when I went down to the main house for a cold lamb sandwich and 1:15P when I returned, their mail got screwed.

Luckily, my e-mail to most towse.com addresses in existence redirects to both attbi.com and mindspring.com, so I spent the afternoon using mindspring.com's Web mail to access my VERY IMPORTANT EMAIL ON VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECTS.

After I sent back a "did you even read what I said?" note and then sent another note explaining the problem in different terms, I got a mail back the following day (05 Jan) telling me (in response to my "did you even read" note) that I should try their online support chat for help using my mail.

Next mail in from attbi in response to my second note, following closely on the heels of the "use chat" mail said, "On 01/04/2002 there was an issue on the mail servers preventing most users from logging onto the mail server to retrieve their email, Please try again, and if you are still getting an error reply to this message."

"Preventing most users?" Oh, please.

You have to wonder how much support time was spent sending 'bot messages and using staff time to answer a question that could've been easily handled by putting something on their support Web site saying, "We're having problems with our mail servers. We hope to have them functioning again soon. Please be patient."

Revised the blogger article for Computer Bits today. Boy howdy, did I ever.

I was confabbing with the Computer Bits editor about what to do in March (something on photography on the Web, maybe to include Ray Rasmussen's photos. ???)

During the midst of this, while we were discussing some blogs I hadn't put into the article, the editor said she'd been planning on getting to editing my article this weekend and if there were changes I wanted to make I was allowed as long as (1) I didn't make the article any longer than it had been and (2) I got it back to her before the day ended.

Then, of course, I had to revamp my hyperlink lists here of what was and was not included.

Thursday, January 03, 2002

Uploaded the 200201 revised edition of the misc.writing Book Turners Club List to http://www.towse.com/misc-writing/mwbtcl.htm

Added a counter to the blog and also moved a counter from the soon-to-be *poof* writing links set on towse.com to the writing links subset on internet-resources.com. http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/

Put a checkbox on the blog so users can toggle whether to pop up a new window for a hyperlink click.

Some links stashed away today:

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

Some other sites of interest

Some other sites of interest

  • http://www.idea-a-day.com/ Idea A Day "will publish an original idea every day for the rest of time. The ideas published will be free of copyright, however valuable they may be. They are there to be read, to be enjoyed, to be exploited. Whatever." ... and boy-howdy are some of these ideas "original." Need a whack 'longside of the head, creativity-wise? Here's your site. [seen in BoingBoing]
  • http://www.umva.com/~clay/money/index.html Money Origami [seen in BoingBoing]

Computer Bits Feb 2002 article - links to blogs/bloggers

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