Sunday, October 28, 2007

President's Entourage

It's absolutely amazing how many people travel with the President.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Horno Fire

I was wondering if my home in Carlsbad would still be standing by the end of this week. Two wildfires came within a few miles of my house. That may not sound very close until you consider just how fast these fires moved. The previous day they easily covered 20 miles. The reverse 9-1-1 system worked very well and I received an automated call about the voluntary evacuation south of Palomar Airport Road.

I took these photos from the I-5 at Camp Pendleton as I drove home last night - about 25 minutes from my house. This fire was intentionally set as a backfire in response to a fire that originated at Horno, on Camp Pendleton, which is home to the First Marine Division. The backfire "backfired" as it got out of control and traveled west, over the mountains, to the Pacific Ocean about four miles away where it jumped the freeway.

When it hit the ocean it turned north towards the San Onofre nuclear power plant and San Clemente a few miles away. Shortly after I took these photos the I-5 was closed in both directions. Luckily, no homes have been damaged by this fire but one section of military housing, near San Clemente, was evacuated. However, inland areas around Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe have been devastated.

Total area consumed by these wildfires: Google Maps.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wildfire Evacuation Checklist

Wildfire Evacuation Checklist

- Pack important papers
- Turn off gas
- Distance BBQ tanks
- Pet cages/carriers & food
- Leave outside lights on so FD can see your home through smoke.

__ Photographs of all family members 
__ Pets (if advance warning, take to an approved shelter) 
__ Pet ID tags 
__ Pet medications 
__ Pet leashes 
__ Pet water bowls 

__ Health insurance card 
__ Car insurance card 
__ House deed 
__ Marriage license 
__ Insurance papers 
__ Tax papers 
__ Birth certificates 
__ Drivers' licenses 
__ Legal documents 
__ Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) 
__ Computer backup disks 
__ Computers (time permitting) 

__ Check books 
__ Savings books 
__ Credit cards 
__ Cash 
__ Purse 
__ Wallet 
__ Blank checks 

__ Prescriptions 
__ Analgesics 
__ Motion sickness tablets (for pets & people) 
__ First-aid kit 
__ Prescription glasses 
__ Prescription dentures 
__ Prescription hearing aids 

__ Gold, silver, and other valuable jewelry 
__ Family heirlooms 
__ Decorations, pins, awards 

__ Photos and albums, slides, movies, home videos 
__ Family Bible 
__ Irreplaceable keepsakes 
__ Original paintings 

Food and Water (for three to seven days - if time permits)

__ Water (at least one gallon per person and pet per day) 
__ Non-perishable, ready-to-eat food 
__ Pet food 
__ Pet treats 
__ Manual can opener 

Toiletries (if time permits) 
__ Soap and towels 
__ Toothbrushes and toothpaste 
__ Shaving articles 
__ Sanitary devices 

Clothing (appropriate for the season - if time permits) 
__ Change of clothing for each person (for one to seven days) 
__ Coats and jackets 
__ Hats and caps 
__ Gloves and scarves 
__ Shoes and boots 
__ Change of underwear 
__ Sleepwear 
__ Infant supplies and toys 

Additional Items to Take (if time permits) 
__ Cell phones 
__ Reading material 
__ Recreational items 
__ First-aid kit 
__ Flashlights and extra batteries 
__ Portable radio and extra batteries 
__ Cameras and extra batteries 

__ Fill evacuation vehicle gas tank 
__ Park evacuation vehicle in the garage heading toward street and travel route 
__ Close evacuation car windows but DO NOT LOCK CAR and leave keys in ignition 
__ Close garage door but leave it unlocked (disconnect automatic garage door opener) 
__ Establish an evacuation plan, travel route, probable destination 
__ Determine where separated members will meet 
__ Follow any official agency's evacuation instructions 
__ Turn off natural gas at meter 
__ Disconnect propane tank 
__ Close or cover outside vents and shutters 
__ Remove combustible items from around the outside of the house 
__ Turn off appliances, thermostats, fireplaces, stoves 
__ Leave one light on in each general area so firefighters can see your house in dark and smoke 
__ Release any livestock in the area 
__ Close fire resistant window coverings, heavy drapes, and Venetian blinds 
__ Move overstuffed furniture away from windows 
__ Cose sliding glass doors into the center of the house (DON'T lock them) 
__ Remove lace, nylon, or light material drapes and curtains 
__ Place a ladder against the roof of the house on the side opposite the approaching fire 
__ Fill bathtubs, sinks, and containers with water 
__ Soak burlap sacks, small rugs, or large rags in containers 
__ Turn on exterior lights 
__ Lock doors and windows 
__ If instructed, tie large white cloth to front door knob 
__ Don't tie up telephone lines (notify friends and relatives by e-mail where to contact you) 
__ Make safety equipment obvious for firefighters (spigots, ladders, chain saws, hoses, etc.) 
__ Plug air vents and openings that are close to the ground 
__ Prepare an "information note" to leave on the door detailing who you are, where you have gone, where flammables are (such as lawnmower gas, ammo, chemicals - move them all into one place) 

__ Keep evacuation vehicle gas tank full 
__ Practice family fire drill and evacuation plans 
__ Practice STOP, DROP, and ROLL (should clothes catch on fire) 
__ Prepare a list of valuables to take with you (store together, if possible) 
__ Make a video of all belongings, talking about each 
__ Take still pictures of all belongings as a backup 
__ Document an annotated list of all belongings 
__ Develop outdoor water supply with hoses to reach entire house, nozzle, and pump 
__ Have fire tools, ladder, and fire extinguishers available 
__ Post name/address signs clearly visible from street or road 
__ Post load limits on access bridges 
__ Clear driveway to at least 20 feet wide with 15 feet vertical clearance (for emergency vehicles) 
__ Clear weeds and cut grass within 10 feet of structures, propane tanks, utility boxes 
__ Clear debris from roof and gutters 
__ Clear vegetation from within 3 feet of hydrants 
__ Remove trees growing through porch, deck, or roof 
__ Remove trash and debris accumulations 
__ Remove branches that overhang within 15 feet of roof and chimney 
__ Stack firewood uphill or on a contour at least 30 feet away from house 
__ Thin and prune your trees and brush 
__ Install smoke detectors and test quarterly 
__ Install only non-combustible roof material 
__ Install shutters, fire curtains, or heavy drapes on windows 
__ Install screens on foundation and eave vents 
__ Install enclosed sides on stilt foundations and decks 
__ Install chimney screen or spark arrestor 

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Photo Copyright

When a photographer snaps a photo, he or she owns the copyright to that photo. The copyright is secured upon creation of the work by the artist.

So, if I'm traveling with my family on vacation and I have a stranger take our family photo, should I get the stranger to sign a release?

Of course, this is a non-issue, but I could easily see a rare case that would capture the media's attention.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What Good is OpenID?

Wikipedia says the following about OpenID:

OpenID is a decentralized single sign-on system. Using OpenID-enabled sites, web users do not need to remember traditional authentication tokens such as username and password. Instead, they only need to be previously registered on a website with an OpenID "identity provider..."

Here's how it's suppose to work... you create a profile at one OpenID server and then all other Web sites that use OpenID can refer back to the original OpenID server where you created your ID.

So, after a week of trying it out I've discovered that, generally speaking, each site that hosts an OpenID server will want you to use their own OpenID server.

I reached this conclusion when I created an OpenID profile at and then, several days later, I need to go through the whole process again at

Sure, I'm probably misunderstanding how OpenID is suppose to work - so don't hesitate to correct my misperceptions.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Is that iTunes on Verizon's New Phone?

Nope, that's not iTunes. The similarity is just an amazing coincidence.

Apple Dashboard: No Stock Quotes

What happened to Apple's Stock Quote Dashboard Widget? It stopped working yesterday - obviously a server issue.
I'm wondering if this is related to Leopard's forthcoming release or, perhaps is no longer providing Apple with their quote data.

First, NBC now - when will it end!

Update 1: After digging through the widget, it seems that the call it's making to the following URL which is returning no content:

If your widget looks fine, try restarting it by clicking on it and pressing cmd-R.

Update 2: After 36 hours it's working again.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The New AT&T

The new AT&T looks a lot like the old AT&T:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Year In the Life of a Startup

An interesting read with lots of details on a first year startup: