Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sue Borkowski's Funeral

I have been divorced now since the mid 70s but still feel close to my (former?) relatives. They are the aunts, uncles and cousins of my kids and when I do show up for family events they always make me feel very welcome.

It is with great sadness that I found out about the death of Sue Borkowski. She was the twin sister of my ex-wife JoAnne and was a great favorite with the kids. I remember nothing but kind thoughts of her and she will be greatly missed.

She was one of those very intelligent and successful people we all hope to meet. She was a Nurse Practioner for years and even after being forced into retirement by her condition she continued to write and have published articles in her field.

I do not know how her husband of 40 years, Paul, managed at the funeral home last night as the crowds of people were larger than anything I have seen at a wake. There were actually lines of people waiting to get in.

It was a cold day for the funeral but fortunately the snow held off and the driving was not bad. It was a sad day but everything went well and it was nice seeing everyone.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Disturbing Google Finds

My sister, who is currently in Florida, asked me to save this Sunday's copy of the Buffalo News so she could check out the passenger list in case she might know someone on it.

The crash of Flight 3407 is receiving saturation media coverage right now in this area. But to my surprise there was no public passenger list in the paper. There were only a few names of noteworthy people.

Apparently is it turns out, there is not a blanket release of names in a list. The airline checks with each family about the appropriateness of releasing the name to the public. This of course is a little time consuming so there is no instant list published.

I did use Google in my efforts to find a list. And as is quite often the case with Google, some totally irrelevant results popped to the top of the list.

I came across at least two sites where when clicked on showed "Flight 3407 Passenger List" at the top of the webpage. But instead of a list of names there was a list of dirty pictures. Apparently some porn sites jumped on the Google Adwords program and made some very good guesses for keywords in a high traffic area. Absolutely nothing to do with passenger lists but I'll bet an awful lot of people searching for information clicked on those sites. I know I did, unknowingly.

To say the least, I got upset when I came across that stuff. How could any lowlifes do something like that?

Of course, after counting to 10, and getting myself thinking sensibly again, I started considering the condition of the advertising industry right now and the type of ads we have on TV and in the newspapers. It really is not much better. I guess what you would have to say is something like that it is just astute businesspeople jumping on an opportunity.

What a world!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Major Aggravation

I enjoy walking through this stretch of Niagara Street. What these pictures show is a major problem for a pedestrian.

After several days of thaw, this pile of snow does not look too impressive but the idea of what it represents makes my blood boil.


The companies plowing the sidewalk did a fairly decent job as is shown by the dry sidewalk. But why in the world did the plow operators for both companies decide to dump what was a massive mound of snow blocking the sidewalk?

This is an area with a fair amount of foot traffic and the obstruction forces people to walk in the street! Niagara Street is not a quiet little country lane by any means. Pedestrians are really endangered by this sort of negligence.

This is only the most obvious example to me. There are at least a couple more examples of the same foolishness in the same general area.

This is not a case of a homeowner who may have been held back by illness or something. This is a perfect example of companies disdaining the people they are supposed to be protecting.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Walking and Walk Scores

Seeing we are having a little February thaw, my mind is starting to think about getting out and about - on foot.

I got to reading an article by Maria Colenso. "What's a walk score?." 10 December 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/walk-score.htm> 09 February 2009.

Apparently using Google maps and a special algorithm a numeric rating can be determined for a neighborhood to tell you the walkability to such thing as stores, restaurants, and whatever. My address gives a value of 78 out of 100 which is supposed to be pretty good.

You can do the calculation for any address - I just put in the street address and zip code and it worked great. The url of the site is: http://www.walkscore.com/

It is anything but perfect, of course. It depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information Google Maps has but you can also update the information yourself. Generally it gives a higher rating for nearer locations and restricts itself to less than a mile - reasonable for walking - about 2000 steps.

All-in-all it is a very interesting concept. For instance: when considering purchasing a house it might be interesting to check its walkscore - especially in view of how terrible it is in some areas getting anywhere except by car.

The site has ratings for various areas. It might be interesting to check others.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Morning Sentiments

Irving Berlin, in the 1943 movie "This is the Army" singing about one of my all time favorite thoughts...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Doing a Windows Backup

I decided this morning that it was time to do another full backup of my computer.

My last full backup was last November 11 and I have just been doing incremental backups every week since. It's automatic every Sunday morning so I never think about it. I just back up to DVD discs.

I use the Windows backup program that came with the computer. I just want something to fall back on if worse comes to worse.

One of the things I used to do back when I was working, in the nineties, was to make tape backups of two of the networks I worked on. You can not believe the sense of relief that someone has when you can recover a file that was somehow damaged or lost.

Probably the best way to do backups would be to a virtual drive on the Internet. That way you wouldn't have to worry about switching discs. For now though I am just making do with the DVD's. It took three discs for the last full backup and then I had two more for the weekly incremental backups.

The only trouble with this setup is the amount of time it takes. The first disc of this new full backup took about an hour and 1/2 to make. I started at 11:30 this morning. The program did write the second and third disks much faster and said it was finished around 2:15 in the afternoon.

At least I can still use the computer while the program runs. Someday, maybe, I will actually buy a program that does this a little more efficiently. You don't notice how slow it really is when the incremental backups are made at 4:00 AM automatically.