Sunday, January 03, 2010

How to get Windows 7 to share a printer on a Windows 2000/XP machine

I have been getting Windows 7 to work on my PC.

By the way, Windows 7 is wonderful.

Here is the solution to a problem I have been having which I want to record so that I can refer to it in the future. Sorry that this isn't more interesting to the general populace...

Network Share not working through Windows 7 home premium:

How to fix things on Windows 7 so that you can access a Windows 2000 shared printer:
  1. Open registry editor ( Start search - regedit)
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
  3. Create a new DWORD value with the following properties: NAME: LmCompatibilityLevel VALUE: 1
  4. Restart your PC and try the connection again...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lifehacker Pack 2009:Essential Free Windows Downloads

Lifehacker Pack 2009: Our List of Essential Free Windows Downloads

Another version of things to load up immediately on a Windows PC. Lifehacker, by the way is a quality publication that comes up with many useful ideas and apps.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bicycle Route Mapping

My friend Tom is an avid cyclist. When I came back from Florida I mentioned several websites that I have been using to map various routes, as well as tracks from my various GPS tracking devices. He send me his findings as well as this update:
    Here's an update: is still the best I've found, although all of them have warts. My maps are at Don't forget to hover your cursor over the elevation plot, and note the full-screen mode. Those two features put it ahead of the others.

    Two others I found recently are Similar to but no dynamic elevation or full-screen mode Pretty good; multiple tracks; tiny editing and display windows are a big drawback

    And as I told you before, is a nonstarter for various reasons.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Worldmapper: The world as you've never seen it before


For those who like Maps, this is a tour de force in maps. There are many themes followed in the same format: a web page with explanations accompanied by a PDF suitable for posting on a bulletin board. In addition, they back up their maps with the data used to produce them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

tipjoy | the easiest way to give and make money online

tipjoy | the easiest way to give and make money online

What a great idea: you set up a small fund (say $5) and give small tips (one guy askedfor just $0.10 and had amased $246) to people who provide services or information that you like.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


MagicJack far from enchanting - The Boston Globe

Actually, the review is much better than the headline would suggest. My major problem with this is that I don't make that many long-distance calls and so I wouldn't save that much money. But, if I were willing to let go of my regular telephone, I could connect this to a spare old computer and eliminate the charge for the phone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Job Losses In Recent Recessions

Here is a very disturbing graph of unemployment that has been published by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.
When I sent this to my friend Richard Homonoff, he replied:
You might want to take a look at William J Polley's blog post titled, "Employment losses continue to be in line with 1981-82 recession."

He looks at the eleven recessions since WWII.

He has a chart that is more comprehensive than Pelosi's.
In the chart below from that reference, the current unemployment line is in orange, is situated about in the middle of the pack and ends at 12 months.

It does appear to me that the Speaker is simplifying things to support her arguments in an unfair way. I don't think either side of the debate should do this -- even it if fits my own leanings. That only weakens your argument once smart people (like Richard) start digging deeper.

Says what we all think...

Don't click on the start button below if you are offended by profanity. If, on the other hand you find the use of profanity at times the last effective means of expressing your outrage or excitement, then click on...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Things I ran across today

Charles Kuralt: We listened to Charles Kural's America on the way down to Florida.

Alan Berliner: Early Sunday morning, we saw part of a documentary by Alan Berliner on Sleeplessness. It was fascinating and this guy is a very good documentary film director/producer.

EasyBloom: Very clever device for measuring environmental conditions for growing plants. Came from a discussion on xBBN about devices for measuring sunlight.

: Nice sealed camera case that shoots automatically when it detects motion. Put right in front of your bird feeder for terrific closeups.

I did not run across the groundhog today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Google Charts

While I wasn't looking, Google has made some major improvements to their spreadsheets. One impressive capability is the ability to generate charts from dynamic data. Here are some examples:

Here is a more complex trig function charted:

And of course, the ever present pie chart. Google documents appears to be practically all I need from Excel in terms of charts.

Of course, the real payoff is when you can chart dynamic data retrieved from sources of data on the web. Here is the temperatures this month in Boston derived from numeric values on a web site generated by the National Weather Service and charted by me in Google Spreadsheets. As the days go on, new entries will appear in the website and be appropriately added to the end of the chart, all without me lifting a finger...

Pretty cool stuff.

I have always been fascinated by taking data produced by one system and combining with either data from another place or processing it automatically to produce something else. These days these are called "mashups". In the last 20 years this is the easiest way I have ever done this. You've been able to do this with excel for a long time, but it is far more complex and awkward. Google really understands the web and creates systems that work well on the web.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MUTO - An Ambiguous Animation

Here is an amazing website and several animations I just ran across. It boggles the mind to think how much time must have gone into creating the first 6 minute film.

Here is the explanation of the video:

Here is the video:

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Here is another video by BLU:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Internet marketing essentials: Change order of Blogger Posts

Internet marketing essentials: Change order of Blogger Posts

This is a really useful set of instructions to change the order in which blogger entries are listed -- FIFO or LIFO. This is a great example were an open system like Blogger (open in the sense that you can change a lot of things) permits you to make it work better than the implementers were able to make it work. A corollary to the rule that a group of people is always smarter than any of the individuals in the group.

FIFO Order

LIFO Order

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What's Harry Been Doing Lately?

What have I been doing? Well, I have spent most of my waking hours working on LexMedia the non-profit corporation that runs the Public Access cable channels in Lexington, MA. In the last year we have completely reinvented LexMedia by:
  1. Getting rid of the last Executive Director who was on a course of making LexMedia fail
  2. Recruiting a new Executive Director who brings a lot of talents to LexMedia that we don't already have, and is a pleasure to work with. What a change!
  3. Building a new studio at Kline Hall in the Avalon Lexington Hills residential complex.
  4. Outfitting that studio with a completely new all digital broadcast system.
As Chairman of LexMedia, I have tried to foster an open organization where there are no pockets of unwarranted private information -- the kind of information inept people use to insure their job security. Rather we value people by what they accomplish.

Having said that, I represent my work at LexMedia by our website ( which I manage. Take a look, and if you live in Lexington, check out the three channels we produce.

Sunday, April 06, 2008



This is a very nice web site which answers the question that some people will be asking in the coming months: With the switch-over to digital TV next February, if I want to receive television over the air (as opposed via cable or satellite) what kind of antenna should I get and in what direction should I point it. If you click on the "choose an antenna" button, you will be asked for your street address. From this information, the website will determine your location, including elevation and sight line to the various television transmitters in your area. It will then tell you two things: Which stations you can expect to receive, what type of antenna you will need to receive those stations, and which direction you should point that antenna. Very nice site.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Most Popular Storied: Scientific American and other websites

Science and technology information from Scientific American

I just got an email message from Scientific American asking me survey questions about their website. After completing the survey, I went over to the website and discovered that it was seriously modified and improved from what I had seen before. Very nice, and I recommend it to you.

Now the reason for writing this entry: Most Popular Stories. I see this kind of list appearing in more and more websites (NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, ...), and I am attracted to it on each. In many respects, it is an organic, populist recommendation service that helps me sift through the average article and find the gems. It's a good example of social networking as opposed to the banal use of this concept in the MySpace's of the world.

But, now my concern: What is others are doing the exact same as I? I.e., not taking the time to explore the complete sea of articles and picking out the ones that I want to read? By using these lists, I am not only failing my fellow readers, but also contributing to a second order effect of reading a recommended article, thus sending it "popularity" even higher -- with the possible effect of swamping an excellent article, but one that by chance got washed to the side by people like me who only look at the most popular articles.

Having said this, I am now suitably self-warned not to just use the "most popular" lists. God, I sound like my mother warning me not to just seek out the popular kids in Jr. High School...

Postscript: My friend Richard wrote me a response which I find very interesting:
Dear Harry,

Too bad Sciam doesn't keep a month by month "most popular" list so we
can go back.

Your point about relying on others to monitor news sources will lop
off some unseen gems has a parallel in the efficient (stock) market
hypothesis. EMH suggests that there is no point in individuals doing
research to test/explore whether a stock is under- or over-valued
because the current prices reflect the combined knowledge/wisdom of
the market participants. But if everyone assumes that stocks are
efficiently priced and if no one does the analysis, the prices will no
longer be "efficiently-priced." And I guess that is why some
investors still hire some people to do securities analysis;
presumably, those securities analysts pick up enough gems to pay for
their time and effort.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

HOW TO: Import Non-Commercial DVD into iMovie '08

Unlike PCs, the standard Macintosh software (e.g., iMovie) does not provide a command or document how to import the contents of an even non-copy protected DVD into a program running on the Macintosh. It turns out that you can do with with standard issue Macintosh programs, you just have to know what to do. Here is a set of steps needed to perform this action that I found using Google.
  1. Insert DVD.
  2. Open Disk Utility.
  3. Select the disk and then select “New Image”. Save the disk image wherever is convenient, such as the desktop.
  4. Once the disk image is written, open iMovie 08.
  5. Mount the new disk image. A “Camera Detected, Scanning Contents” window will appear in iMovie 08, followed by an import window. You can now import the DVD contents and start editing away.

I wish iMovie would just say, “Hey, this DVD doesn’t have copy protection, it must be yours, so I’ll import it for you!” Alas, this is not the case, making the process more cumbersome than it needs to be. I can image that the idea of importing straight from a DVD was shot down by Apple’s legal team… sigh

Monday, March 31, 2008

On The Media: Prank Calling

On The Media: Prank Calling

Professional hoaxer Alan Abel has spent a lifetime pulling pranks on the media, like his campaign to clothe naked animals or his character Omar the Beggar. Abel’s antics are preserved in the documentary, now on DVD, Abel Raises Cain.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights

Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights

There are several issues that arise when I decide whether or not I feel comfortable taking a picture. These issues usually arise when people are included in the scene. This article lays out the legal rules and rights you have as a photographer, but I find that frequently my own sense of respecting someone's privacy takes precedence. But, it is good to know the law before you start defending yourself against heavy handed "authorities".

Monday, March 10, 2008


JungleDisk - Reliable online storage powered by Amazon S3 ™

I have searched for years for a backup system that would work for me. I bet I'm not that unusual in my "requirements" -- these are not particularly difficult ones and some of them relate to my behaviors, which again, I believe are not very unusual (at least with regards to backing up my computer data...)

For me, to be useful, a backup system has to be:
  1. Automatic: This is why I am looking for a "system" rather than just doing it myself every time I create something new a valuable.

  2. Reliable: What's the purpose of using a backup system if it isn't reliable. I think many people have a false sense of security with their backup systems because they rarely try to recover files.

  3. Easy -- both to backup and recover: The backup system ought to be as "easy" as using the file management capabilities of the operating system -- and hopefully just an extension of that OS.

  4. Inexpensive: Even though I know that my data is very valuable, somehow I still think the backup system ought to be inexpensive.

  5. Done in the background: Again, even though it is important, backing up files doesn't seem like it ought to interfere with my use of the computer. I wish some virus protection systems would exhibit the same characteristics.

  6. Cross-platform: Although I have one principal computer I use, my family and I make use of several laptops, both PCs and Macs, as well as several servers. All of these machines should be backed up, not just my primary PC.
After stumbling along for many years, I have finally found a system that does all of this: JungleDisk. There are two really good parts of this system: The multiplatform client program that implements the logic of when and what to backup, and the backend storage component (Amazon's S3) which is a very inexpensive storage system charged for by the high integrity billing system of Amazon.

The net effect is that for the first time, I now have my pictures backed up properly -- in fact so well that as I travel, take pictures and download them to my laptop, to my delight these pictures are backed up to the Amazon file storage while I sleep. And, did I mention inexpensive? After the initial upload to the file server when I am charged for network bandwidth (not very much), all of my pictures from 2007 and 2008 (42Gbytes) are now being backed up for about $6.50/month which seems pretty good to me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The internet has proven itself to be the most effective way at informing people about issues that matter to them. Once people are informed, they want to act -- and many times the appropriate action is to let another person or organization your support for a position.

This website is a free service offered to users of the Internet to collect and organize signatures on a petition. It uses the standard "interpret this image" challenge to insure that the petition is being signed by a human. By packaging the signing activity into one frequently used service, all of the standard pitfalls that activists could fall into are avoided.

Similar, even more sophisticated services for accepting donations on behalf of an organization or cause, are also available on the web. Both of these services allow the activist to concentrate on informing people about the issue at hand, and to not have to worry about the mechanisms for achieving a mass effect in support of the issue.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A quarter-century of innovation that changed the way government works and how people live

A quarter-century of innovation that changed the way government works and how people live

A friend of mine, JF Mergin, wrote a section of this article in which he said:

What individual had the biggest impact on your work in the government or the work of government?

In the late 1980s a fellow named Harry Forsdick was working at BBN Technologies on early Internet applications. No one really understood what he was doing and he was exploring and area where no one had gone before. One particular application was called (as I remember) the PIN or Personal Internet Newspaper. Using a scripting language that foreshadowed Java Script and Google scripting, one could build an automatically generated newspaper based on the content of very large number of sites. When this was shown to a number of potential customers, there was almost a universal lack of understanding. However, it really made me think about how little we know of the potential of this growing network and it obliterated a number of conceptual walls.
At the time, it seemed obvious to me, but if people as smart as JF's potential customers were mystified, I must admit that my powers of explanation were not as good as my ability to think up and build new Internet applications... [The Personal Internet Newspaper was known as the PINPaper. When I moved to CMGI with this technology, the product was known as Echo].

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA

There is a new map store in Harvard Square. For years, there has been a map store on Church St in the Square. I'm not sure if it is still there. Now another.

Here is a nice example from Ward Maps of a map around Fresh Pond where BBN was located.

Monday, December 10, 2007

FLV Tools

I find that the .FLV format is the best one to include on web pages. So do most of the Internet video sites. When converting video to .FLV format, there are certain tools that are needed to create usable video productions. Here is a list of the ones that I am currently using. FLV Player

This is a very clean, standalone .FLV player.
GoGo DVD To flash flv Converter

This is a wonderful one button click conversion from a DVD to a .FLV file. You get to adjust enough of the encoding parameters to create exactly the quality of .FLV you want.
JW FLV Player

This is the component I use for embedding .FLVs in web pages. It has a playlist facility for playing multiple .FLVs with very flexible ways to display the playlist. If you want to just show one video, you use a playlist with one element.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Move over Facebook. Dogster is upon us...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Virtual CD-RW burner converts DRM protected M4P to MP3, M4B to MP3, M4A to WMA

Virtual CD-RW burner converts DRM protected M4P to MP3, M4B to MP3, M4A to WMA

This is the most reliable tool I have encountered for converting iTunes to mp3s. The authors of this tool have been thinking out of the box about this solution to converting one format to another.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

McCaw Bets Again On Wireless Frontier

November 14, 2007, WSJ

Craig McCaw got rich betting on cellphones when they were still brick-size gadgets with just 30 minutes of battery life. These days, he's rolling the dice on another untested concept: a nationwide high-speed wireless network based on WiMax technology.

His company, Clearwire Corp., is trying to cobble together a network to give customers fast, affordable Internet access for laptops and mobile devices in their homes, cars, commuter trains -- almost anywhere. "Nobody has fulfilled the dream of what mobile broadband could be," says Mr. McCaw, 58 years old, who has been working at it for more than a decade.

It's proving a formidable challenge. WiMax -- a longer-range cousin of the Wi-Fi technology that creates Internet hot spots in homes and coffee shops -- is unproven for large-scale use. Clearwire needs to buy up radio spectrum and erect towers all over the country, which will likely cost billions of dollars. Right now, what Mr. McCaw needs most is a deep-pocketed corporate partner.

Last week, his plans on that front were dealt a blow. Sprint Nextel Corp., which is working on its own WiMax network, scrapped a preliminary agreement to join forces with Clearwire to build a national one. A separate plan to spin off Sprint's broadband unit and merge it with Clearwire was rejected by Sprint's board last week, people familiar with the situation say. The two companies are continuing to talk, these people say.

Mr. McCaw might have other options. Computer-chip maker Intel Corp., cable operator Comcast Corp., Google Inc. and at least one satellite-TV company had all been considering investing in a Sprint-Clearwire joint venture, people close to the matter say. Clearwire has been holding discussions with some of those parties about a direct partnership, these people say.

Key Dates: Craig McCaw's career
  • Mr. McCaw has ties to most of today's major wireless carriers through his own investments or colleagues from his early McCaw Cellular venture.
  • AT&T Inc.: In 1994, Craig McCaw sold his early cellphone venture, McCaw Cellular, to AT&T Corp. for $11.5 billion. AT&T's wireless assets were subsequently acquired by Cingular Wireless and are now part of the behemoth carrier AT&T Inc.
  • T-Mobile USA: One of McCaw's key lieutenants on McCaw Cellular was John W. Stanton. He went on to found another cellphone company called Western Wireless, which then spun off a venture called VoiceStream Wireless in 1998. Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG purchased VoiceStream in 2000 and renamed it T-Mobile USA.
  • Alltel Corp.: Mr. Stanton's Western Wireless was ultimately purchased by Alltel Corp. for $6 billion in 2005. Alltel, the nation's fifth-largest wireless carrier, is being taken private by TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs for $24.7 billion.
Sprint Nextel Corp.: McCaw invested in Nextel in the mid-1990s and brought in a new management team into the company. Nextel was purchased by Sprint for $35 billion in 2005, resulting in Sprint Nextel, the nation's third-largest carrier.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Web-based Shared Information Systems

There are several web-based shared information systems that seem to have achieved enough critical mass and polish that it is time to seriously consider them when setting up a small company or organization. Two that I will talk about in subsequent articles are are GoogleDocs and CentralDesktop.

Google Docs


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seam Carving

Technology Review: New Tricks for Online Photo Editing

This is more than a trick. It appears to me to be a significantly better way to think about reshaping a photograph because it doesn't loose any of the original "message of the photograph". In the illustration to the left, notice that the aspect ratio of the photograph has been changed from landscape to portrait -- without loosing any of the balloons of the landscape version. For me, that is the amazing part of this method.

Check out the video below to hear an explanation about how this is done and then go to the website, to try for yourself.

Monday, October 15, 2007


This morning I awoke listening to Chicago by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, written by Graham Nash in 1970. Although it has been 37 years since this was written, I am struck by two things: First, the world has changed since 1970 -- some for the good (the populist Internet) and some for the bad (almost everything done by the G. W. Bush administration). And second, I still believe in the sentiment of the song. Change happens by the actions of lots of people reaching consensus and showing up to demand change. I particularly like the ending of this particular recording which adds a section of people singing the last refrain.

Chicago by Graham Nash sung by CSNY (4:01)
    Though your brother's bound and gagged
    And they've chained him to a chair
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    Just to sing

    In a land that's known as freedom
    How can such a thing be fair
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    For the help we can bring

      We can change the world -
      Re-arrange the world
      It's dying - to get better

    Politicians sit yourself down,
    There's nothing for you here
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    For a ride

    Don't ask Jack to help you
    Cause he'll turn the other ear
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    Or else join the other side

      We can change the world -
      Re-arrange the world
      It's dying - if you believe in justice
      It's dying - and if you believe in freedom
      It's dying - let a man live it's own life
      It's dying - rules and regulations, who needs them
      Open up the door

    Somehow people must be free
    I hope the day comes soon
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    Show your face

    From the bottom to the ocean
    To the mountains of the moon
    Won't you please come to Chicago
    No one else can take your place

      We can change the world -
      Re-arrange the world
      It's dying - if you believe in justice
      It's dying - and if you believe in freedom
      It's dying - let a man live it's own life
      It's dying - rules and regulations, who needs them
      Open up the door
      We can change the world

Finally, here is a YouTube version that has a lot of the images of the times. I think emphasizes why change was needed in a visceral manner. There is less evidence here that we can change the world. The bits and pieces of the world that were changed can only be seen with the perspective of looking back 30 years and noting things that are for the better today as well as things that are not as good.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What Music Has Changed Your Life?

What Music Has Changed Your Life?

Last night while listening to Weekend All Things Considered while driving, I heard a "Reader Assignment" which was to write about a piece of music that has changed your life. The first piece of music that entered my mind was a performance by The Band of Up on Cripple Creek which I heard coming out of the kitchen at an AMC Hut in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Why that tune at that place? Who knows. I'm just reporting what first came into mind. (Of course, as I write this, other pieces of music come to mind: Stravinsky's The Right of Spring, Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay, Crosby Stills Nash and Young's Ohio, Mozart's Requiem). But the first thing I thought of was The Band's Up on Cripple Creek.

Of course the hard part is trying to figure out why that song was the first thing to pop into my mind. A little background on the scene. From June 1969 right after I graduated from Yale through June 1971, right before I started at MIT, I worked for two years. One weekend during this period (either Summer of 1969 or Summer of 1970) I hiked with a group of friends in the White Mountains. Our route took us by one of the Appalachian Mountain Club Huts. These huts provide rather comfortable overnight accommodations in picturesque locations along the mountain trails. (We didn't stay in the Hut -- rather camped in tents near the hut -- a lot cheaper).

I remember arriving at the Hut -- the end of our hike for that day -- pretty wiped out. Our usual pattern was to set up our tent for the night and then go explore around the campsite. I decided to just sit back and enjoy the scene from in front of the Hut. In addition to lodging, the crew of the Hut cooks dinner for the paying guests.

The AMC crews were usually larger than life hikers -- people who could carry 80 pound packs along the trail and not seem to get exhausted. Since everything in the Hut had to be carried in and out, this was an essential skill to be on a Hut crew. So, here I was resting after a strenuous hike for me thinking about these guys who seemed to enjoy carrying up at least twice the load that I was carrying, wondering about what was different between them and me.

Shortly, as I am in my contemplative state, I hear, coming out of the kitchen, the sounds of The Band singing Up on Cripple Creek, the perfect song for this location. It just seemed right, and forever after when I hear that song, I think of that beautiful place with its wonderful vista over the mountains.

      "When I get off of this mountain
      You know where I want to go
      Straight down the mississippi river
      To the gulf of mexico
      To lake charles, louisiana
      Little bessie, a girl that I once knew
      And she told me just to come on by
      If theres anything she could do

      Up on cripple creek she sends me
      If I spring a leak she mends me
      I dont have to speak she defends me
      A drunkards dream if I ever did see one

      Good luck had just stung me
      To the race track I did go
      She bet on one horse to win
      And I bet on another to show
      Odds were in my favor
      I had him five to one
      When that nag to win came around the track
      Sure enough he had won

      I took up all of my winnings
      and I gave my little bessie half
      And she tore it up and blew it in my face
      Just for a laugh
      Now theres one thing in the whole wide world
      I sure would like to see
      Thats when that little love of mine
      Dips her doughnut in my tea

      Now me and my mate were back at the shack
      We had spike jones on the box
      She said, I cant take the way he sings
      But I love to hear him talk
      Now that just gave my heart a fall
      To the bottom of my feet
      And I swore as I took another pull
      My bessie cant be beat

      Now, its hot in california
      And up north its freezing cold
      And this living off the road
      Is getting pretty old
      So I guess Ill call up my big mama
      Tell her Ill be rolling in
      Bet you know, deep down, Im kinda tempted
      To go and see my bessie again"
What is/was it about this song that I liked hearing wafting out of the kitchen of that Hut? Perhaps it was the contrast between the beautiful serene scene I was looking out on and the honky tonk sounds of the song. Here we were in this wonderful location and the song was talking about all of the things I was going to do "When I get off of this mountain..." (I wish: although I was young, unfortunately my love life was not as robust as the singer of this song). Perhaps it was the concluding lines about "this living off the road is getting pretty old" picking up on my feeling hot and sweaty after a hike and a little bit of artistic exaggeration about who I was. I also just liked the sound of not particularly polished song about a scruffy guy mirroring my image of the Hut crew members.

In any case, it has stuck with me and I remember that scene when ever I hear that song.

Maybe not as life changing as some events, but here, after 40 years, I can remember that moment vividly. There must have been some change going on at that moment.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's a Kind of a Family. It's a Kind of Insanity.: This Isn't L.A., It's Boston

It's a Kind of a Family. It's a Kind of Insanity.: This Isn't L.A., It's Boston

With 250 candidates running for president of Red Sox Nation, it is pretty hard to predict who will win -- and so, you really have to vote for a person who captures your heart, mind and imagination trusting your own opinion, not the opinions of pundits or the publicity machine of "big name" candidates. So, I'm backing a grass roots candidate named Rob Crawford.

Why? Well, I read an article on Rob's MLBBlog where he describes his values and what he would do if President of Red Sox Nation. His focus is people: About helping people who are down due to illness and don't have easy access to getting Red Sox Tickets. About helping people who are kids and would really love to attend a Red Sox game but can't find a way. For both of these groups, Rob proposed mechanisms for getting these people tickets to games that would change their lives. And finally, about helping people feel good about the Red Sox and themselves by singing. Rob's I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation is a wonderful song that sticks in your head and the music video below is fun to watch.

So, how can you find out about Rob and vote for him? Time is of the essence. Rob has already made the cut -- he is one of the top 11 vote getting finalists. The next two days will narrow the 11 finalists (down from 2500) to a group of 3 who will then have a run-off election. The judges will use two criteria to separate the wheat from the chaff:
  1. The number of visitors to each candidate's Red Sox blog, and
  2. The number and quality/tone of comments on each candidate's Red Sox blogs.
To advance this cause, I invite you to click on Rob's blog:

By simply clicking on this link and thus visiting Rob's blog, your interest will be registered by the "officials" who will determine which candidates advance. Thus, clicking on this link is like a vote for Rob.

And if you would like to have an even greater impact, add a positive comment to Rob's blog. (Apparently the judges are READING all the comments to help them decide!)

Last Wednesday night Rob attended a speak-out for the candidates. His comments began with these words:
    Hi. My name is Rob Crawford, and I'm not famous. I'm not a TV baseball personality. I've never played for the Red Sox. My face is not on a plaque in Cooperstown. I have not won a Pulitzer Prize. And I don't have a column in the New York Daily News. I have devoted my career to teaching kids, coaching kids, and raising money to support teachers and kids. . . . [read more on Rob's blog].
October 5 Update: I'm sad to report that Rob did not win the Presidency. But, I still believe in his ideals and hope that he continues to spread his message. Please see my comment on Rob's blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Randy Pausch

WSJ Video about Last Lecture

Complete Last Lecture (at end of this article)

Randy Pauch's Website

from the Wall Street Journal:

CMU has a lecture series entitled "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O'Connor recently titled her lecture "Get Over Yourself." At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled "Desire," spoke about sex and technology.

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

See the short 2 minute video here. Read the article here. Below is the full video, 1 hour 44 minutes. That is long, but if you need some inspiration, watch it in increments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Saving History: Revolution in Boston

Saving History: Revolution in Boston

Below is a preview of a documentary developed by our Lexington friend Rick Beyer.

If you look closely right after the 50 second mark you can see Marsha (blue) and Rick's daughter Bobbie (red) off to the right. Marsha and Bobbie were extras on Rick's shoot in downtown Boston in August. You may also see Marsha's back in the full program, looking at a display case.

The program is airing on the History Channel starting this Saturday September 22, 2007 at 8PM.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Across The Universe

Across The Universe

Did you grow up in the '60s? Do you like the Beatles? Have I left anybody out? If you answered no to both questions, skip to your next activity.

For the rest of you survivors, make a date to see Across the Universe, Julie Taymore's wonderful fantasy musical weaving of a '60s love story using the songs of the Beatles. This isn't a particularly complex story -- sort of like Romeo and Juliet mixed with Hippies, Greenwich Village, Viet Nam, 1968 Columbia Student Revolt, and the Beatles.

If you are like me, you may want to try to sit away from others in the theater so that you can enjoy yourself and hum along. The actors themselves do all of the singing of the songs and their performances are really good. Shows you how wonderful the Beatles song are. This is the type of film that you can see more than once -- in the same sense that you can see a Shakespeare play more than once or listen to a music album more than once.

Clearly an Oscar contender. Marsha and I loved it -- especially seeing it Saturday night in the Harvard Square Theater where I also saw Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Review in the 1970s...

Sunday, September 16, 2007



I was looking around the web today (that sort of like saying I was looking around the world today) and ran across this beautiful web site by an Lebanese artist / designer that I find delightful. Poke around and you will see some wonderful little pieces of art, craft, and design.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


LibraryThing | Catalog your books online

There is a fine line between hoarding and collecting. Collecting at least gives you an excuse / explanation.

This is a website devoted to lists of books -- as well as interrelationships between books. In addition it seems to have a large collection of discussion lists about books.

Perhaps you have detected a trend with my pleasure with lists? It's true, I admit it that I have a fascination with lists -- especially complete ones.

Time to stop, I have already revealed enough of my private obsessions...

Monday, September 03, 2007

I can't express how embarrassing this is...

From: Harry Forsdick
Date: Sep 3, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: Quechup: Avoid it like the plague
To: Friends


Yesterday, I signed up for a social networking group called Quechup. Due to some ambiguous wording on the website's part, I thought that they would just be checking my address book to see if people on it were already members of Quechup. But noooo, they just went ahead and spammed my entire address book of more than 2000 entries with an invitation forged from me asking people to join this wretched website.

Many people have signed up and responded to me that they have taken my advice since I follow this stuff. Needless to say, I am very upset that I have spent my reputation with you on this matter. See the Post Script to this message to read an explanation about how this happened.

If you did sign up, you can cancel your membership by logging in and then looking for something like "membership" menu. At the bottom of the menu is the cancel operation. I can't be more precise since I have already canceled my membership and can't see the user interface.

To see another explanation about all of this please see:

Extra Spam, Hold the Quechup | Wise Bread

and read the comments on this blog entry:

Quechup And Mass Hysteria

Some people have observed that now that Quechup has my address book, they can use it (and all of the other lists they have collected) to send spam whenever they want. Although this is true, I think people are kidding themselves if they think that their email address is not already on one or more spam address lists.

But, if you are that special someone who has never gotten spam, and you suddenly start to get spam, I apologize in advance for my misstep.

Someone called me up today and said that after she received "my invitation" her AOL system stopped working. She was unable to login to AOL. In addition, when she called up her husband and her daughter, they were also unable to login to AOL. What should she do to fix this?

Needless to say, something like this causes people to assign the cause of every subsequent mishap in their life to the most recent one that has been uncovered and explained.

Although I am willing to apologize for some things, I am only willing to assume a certain amount of responsibility for the failures you may encounter in the rest of your life :-)

-- Harry

P.S. On some further reflection about how I fell for this, here are some observations:
  1. I purposely sign up for new websites (or at least new to me) to see what they are all about. Part of my MO is to try stuff out and take some chances. This strategy has always worked well for me, but there are some risks that I usually avoid.

  2. The mechanism for finding people on many social networking sites is one that Quechup is using. The idea behind the mechanism is to see if people with the same email address as is in your address book already belong to the social networking site. If they do, you can link up to those people, if you want. Quechup asks you if you want to use this mechanism using the same descriptions as other social networking sites use. There are two differences in Quechup's mechanism: they don't ask you if you want to invite anyone, and they just send messages to the unfortunate people on your address list.

  3. To complicate matters, lots of my friends pay attention to my recommendations because I keep up to date on these matters -- or should I say, used to pay attention... When I go through my thought patterns on this incident, that's actually what happened to me. A classmate from Yale got caught up in this mess and he Quechup spammed everybody on the list. I saw the invitation and figuring that this guy was reliable, signed up to see what he was excited about. The rest is history.
So, as a result of this experience, I have added the following item to the list of things I think about when dealing with the Internet:
  • Before signing up for a website, go to Google and search for it's name. If I had done that, I would have discovered in the first 4 hits the SPAMing of Quechup.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Standard PC Software I Use

I frequently get asked what software should I install on my PC. I also frequently set up machines for people. In either case, here is the checklist I use when advising or installing software on a new PC. I never save copies of free software, rather opting for downloading the latest copy at the time of installation. There are no URLs in this list, but if you search Google for the names in bold font, you will find the latest and greatest reference to the item on the web.
  1. AVG, an excellent free Virus Protection system. It's the one that I use. Better than the commercial virus protections because it is simple. This is the very first thing I make sure is running. Actually, on Windows XP, there is a firewall that runs as soon as the machine is started so that when you first connect to the Internet, you machine will be protected.

  2. Ad-aware, an excellent free anti-spyware program I use. Run this once a month or more frequently if you feel besieged by spontaneous ads appearing in windows on your machine. There are a variety of pop up ad blockers in place, but you don't need to worry about them.

  3. Update to the latest version of Windows XP or Vista using the Microsoft Windows Update site. I also do a little tuning of the desktop and toolbars. I usually make the desktop a solid color because it is less confusing. I enable the quickstart toolbar (left side of the bottom toolbar) and add several vital applications and remove all others. I also create a new toolbar typically named "stuff" and put it at the top of the display. This is where I put shortcuts to more frequently used applications. You can add shorts here just by dragging them to the toolbar. I usually make that toolbar autohide so that it isn't in the way -- just move your mouse to the top of the screen and it will appear. If the machine has a small display, I also make the bottom toolbar autohide.

  4. Several small improvements to Windows UI for control freaks like me:
    1. Single click to open is a setting for windows that changes the normal double click to open making the entire user interface more like that of the web. I find it much better to have one paradigm for getting things done, rather than having to think Do I double click or single click? all the time.
    2. Allsnap will help you keep your desktop tidy by urging icons and windows towards a grid.
    3. Power Menu adds some useful functions to the menu you get when you right click on the icon in the upper left corner of a window. Two that I particularly like are 1) the ability to keep a window on top of everything else and 2) the ability to reduce a window to the tray as a small icon rather than in the list of running applications in the task bar.
    4. Task Shuffle allows you to rearrange the horizontal list of running apps in the task bar: drag the app to the position you want.
    5. Tweak how your task bar appears: This is a list of useful tweaks to make the controls on your Windows XP machine (Start menu, task bar) be just what you want them to be.
    6. TweakUI: This is one of the unofficial WIndows XP powertools that allows you to change a number of the settings used in controlling Windows XP. There are some other interesting tools in the "powertools" set that you can get on the Microsoft Website.

  5. Foxit Reader PDF Reader: Better than Adobe Reader

  6. PDFCreator: A great tool for creating PDF's from any application that can print. Essential.

  7. Adobe Flash: Essential

  8. Firefox and configure it with several Firefox extensions that I find very useful:
    1. Add Bookmark Here 2: Allows you to add a bookmark to a folder in your Firefox bookmarks
    2. Dictionary Search: Allows you to highlight text on a web page and right click choose this and get a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary
    3. Forecastfox Enhanced: Puts weather information at the bottom of your Firefox browser
    4. Go Up: A simple addition in the top toolbar which allows you to go up on level in a web site's directory structure. Useful if you go to a page and then wonder what else is at this web site.
    5. IE Tab: Allows you to say "Always show this web site in a tab that runs the Internet Explorer browser engine. Useful for web sites that only work with IE.
    6. IE View: Allows you to start up IE showing the current page (Right Click to invoke)
    7. SearchBar Autosizer: The search bar (Google, or which ever search you prefer (it's configurable)) at the top right of the Browser display will expand as needed when you type characters of a search string
    8. Tab Mix Plus: Additional functions which allow you to change the behavior of how tabs are controlled and created.
    9. Tiny Menu: Makes the menu at the top of the browser take up much less space.
    10. XMarks: Synchronizes book marks between multiple computers.

  9. MS Office 2000 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

  10. iTunes, essential

  11. Google Earth, magical application

  12. Stickies, small notes you can leave for yourself. In this version, there is an alarm system so you can leave notes for yourself that pop up at a given time. Just to be clear, they come from

  13. Yahoo Widgets, desktop widgets. Although it says desktop I find that my desktop gets pretty cluttered and so I opt for hiding them in a toolbar which is docked on the right side of the screen. Slide your mouse over to the right edge to see them. I usually download and enable the following widgets:
    1. Clock
    2. WiFi meter
    3. CPU load

  14. Google ScreenSaver along with some nice images. This screen saver has two great features. First, it is almost as good as the Macintosh OSX panning/zooming screensaver -- the best version of this I've ever seen on a PC. Second -- and this is better than the Mac OSX screensaver -- is that this screensaver allows you to draw images from a wide variety of sources and reference styles, including images in your file system (pretty standard) as well as the really innovative Photo RSS feeds. I have initialized the feed to draw from a RSS feed. To change where images come from, right click on the desktop and choose screensaver. The rest is obvious.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Il Lee: Ballpoint Abstrations

NYTimes Art Review: To See the World in Ballpoint Pen


Being a doodler, I had to check out this review and website that told something about this exhibit. I was also fascinated by the video below that showed how Il Lee did these drawings.

Monday, July 30, 2007

History, Espionage, Technology, Art, Illusion and ... Philanthropy

My friend, Lexington resident Rick Beyer, has just told me about a very interesting project he is working on: A documentary film about the Ghost Army: a unit that used all sorts of tricks and artistic talents to create the impression that the Allied forces were operating in much different ways than was actually the truth. More on that later.

I am a firm believer in supporting artists and writers with upfront (tax deductible) cash donations and this message is an appeal for you to do the same. Marsha and I have already donated $100 to the "The Center For Independent Documentary" a non-profit organization that will be funding Rick's current work on the Ghost Army and at the end of this message I am going to ask you to consider giving a donation to this worthy effort. Again, more on that later, but I wanted to make sure you understood what I was asking you to consider up front.

Rick Beyer is an historian, author and film director. He has written three books in a "The Greatest Stories Never Told:" series that are both wonderful to read and beautifully illustrated:

As his books show, Rick is not just a story teller, but also a talented graphics / visual artist.

Combine these talents together and add time and motion, and you get to his work in documentary films. Rick's company, Plate of Peas Productions has created 6 documentaries which have shown on channels such as The History Channel and A&E:

Recently, Marsha had a non-speaking role as a member of the rowdy crowd (typecasting?) in a film about the historical reconstruction of The Old State House is Boston.

Rick's current project, the film documentary, "The Ghost Army", tells a story of deception, art, and showmanship kept secret for nearly 50 years. It is about an extraordinary US Army unit whose mission was to impersonate other army units on the battlefields of Europe in order to fool the enemy. From Normandy to the Rhine they used rubber tanks, sound trucks, and all sorts of tricks to stage a traveling road show of deception.

And that's only half the story. Many of the soldiers were artists recruited from NY and Philadelphia art schools. They literally sketched and painted their way across Europe, creating a unique a highly personal visual record of the war. Here is a trailer that Rick created to generate support for the film:

You can find out more about the Ghost Army at Rick's project website:

This project has already started and to date Rick and his organization has interviewed more than 20 Ghost Army veterans on camera, and collected more than 500 photographs and artworks for possible use in the film. But they still have a long way to go.

And that is where you can help. I would like to ask you to support Rick in this effort.

There is a really interesting organization named who's subtitle is

"It's a small world. You can make a difference"

It's no secret that government funding for the Arts has been decimated in the last 20 years. So, if we can't participate in supporting artists through our taxes, then the only way is to make donations directly to them. In a way, this is more compelling since you can direct your support to projects you really like. And, you will see the difference you will make when Rick's film is completed and shown on TV channels such as the History Channel.


I'm glad you asked:
  1. Go to: The Network for Good
  2. You will see a "badge". Click on the Donate button.
  3. Fill out the form making sure you enter "The Ghost Army" in the "Designation (Optional)" field -- this is important if your support is going to get to Rick.
It's that easy.

I thank you in advance, as does Rick, for considering this request and for your donation to this good cause for the Arts.



Saturday, July 21, 2007



Lists: you either love them or hate them. I have to admit that I have a fascination with them. At times I am a little defensive about this because they reduce understanding of a subject to a rather syntactic recitation of facts rather than deep insight. But, checking off what you have done is an objective way to measure progress.

Read Walt Mossberg's All Things Digital comments.

Check out my Meosphere.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Excellent Information Presentation

Wealthiest Americans Ever...
Interactive Feature: The Money Race

Here are two great examples about how to present information using the interactive capabilities of the Internet. The display of the Wealthiest Americans Ever... is great for two reasons: First, it is always important to understand modern "facts" in the context of history. This puts Bill Gates, Warren Buffet's and Sam Walton's fortunes into historical perspective. Second, it is an excellent example about how to show off data in a compact form using the benefits of the interactive Internet.

The second example Interactive Feature: The Money Race (published the next day by the New York Times: way to go NYT) improves on the first example by adding animation so that you can see how candidates raise money over time.