Sep. 2, 2015 Monster Strollers

You can always tell the kids that did not have strollers. They have one arm longer than the other because they were dragged around by their parents. For millions of years kids learned to walk very early in life because otherwise they would be left behind. Had evolution continued without interruption, most humans would be able to tie their shoes without bending over.

The Industrial Revolution changed that. A hundred years ago in London you would see nannies pushing large perambulators or “prams” containing the future leaders of Britain. Fifty years ago you would see baby boomer babies being pushed around in smaller and cheaper strollers. Now strollers are the size of golf carts. Any larger and they would need their own license plates and trailer hitches to drag them to the mall. They are Conestoga wagons with extra diapers. At some point they will be big enough for adults.

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Sep. 1, 2015 Events To Attend

Here are some events you might want to attend. Check with the respective organizations for more information.

Date: Sep. 1, 2015 9:00AM

Org: STC Touchstone Competition

Topic: Regional competition benefitting the Kenneth Gordon Scholarship, which supports technical communication students at local colleges.

Speaking: Richard Mateosian and Patrick Lufkin

Venue: STC Competition, c/o Herr, 5292 Kathy Way, Livermore, CA 94550

Date: Sep. 8, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC San Diego

Topic: XML, XSL, and XSL:FO for Technical Communicators

Speaking: Walter Hanig

Venue: Elijah’s Restaurant, 7061 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #213, San Diego CA 92111

Date: Sep. 9, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Berkeley

Topic: Technical Writer as Scrum Master: Expand Your Skill Set

Speaking: Gina Blednyh

Venue: Highlands Country Club, 110 Hiller Drive, Oakland CA

Date: Sep. 15, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Orange County

Topic: An Introduction to How Interactive Media Improves the UX

Speaking: Matt Sullivan

Venue: Doubletree Club Hotel – Orange County Airport, 7 Hutton Centre Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92707

Date: Sep. 15, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Puget Sound

Topic: API Documentation: What, Why, and How

Speaking: Peter Gruenbaum, President of SDK Bridge

Venue: Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th Street, Redmond WA 98052

Date: Sep. 16, 2015 7:00PM

Org: STC Sacramento

Topic: An Aggressive Approach to Concise Writing

Speaking: Joe Welinske

Venue: Webinar

Date: Sep. 21, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Silicon Valley Chapter

Topic: How to Choose the Right Tool for Me

Speaking: Elizabeth Fraley

Venue: IHOP, 4200 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara CA 95054

Date: Sep. 21-23, 2015 6:00PM

Org: CIDM

Topic: Best Practices

Speaking: Ron Ricci and many more

Venue: Renaissance Vinoy 501 5th Avenue NE St. Petersburg FL 33701

Date: Sep. 30 – Oct 1, 2015 9:00AM

Org:  Information Development World

Topic: Content strategy, leadership, tools, governance, localization, DITA, medical devices and more

Speaking: Scott Abel,Rahel Anne Bailie, George Gopen, Colleen Jones, Ed Marshall, Chris Raulf, James Romano, Kevin Nichols and many more

Venue: The Hilton DoubleTree San Jose, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA 95110

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Aug. 31, 2015 Prove Your Bobness

This is funny. My people just got a message from someone named Bob. They want to prove you are the legendary Bob. Here it is. Where did we meet?

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Aug. 30, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Flash Drives

Twenty years ago you might have bought one of the first commercial available digital cameras. The Sony Mavica stored up to a half of a megabyte of pictures on a standard five and quarter in diskette. Fifteen years ago Canon had a smaller, lighter camera that stored its images on a 16MB flash card about the size of a cracker. It was not as vulnerable to mechanical or electrical shock. The flash cards cost a hundred dollars, which meant you bought two of them and downloaded the pictures on one card to a laptop while you photographed with the other. Today you can buy a card with a terabyte of data for the same price. Now people now all walk around with USB flash drives the same way they used to carry floppy disks.

Data storage over the past hundred years has gone from paper to magnetic tape to magnetic disk to flash drives. It is not clear what will replace flash drives, but it will have to cheaper, faster and smaller than what exists today. If networks become more reliable, the cloud may be the ultimate storage place, but many will still want physical media in case the network fails.

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Aug. 29, 2015 Ice Scraper

Another sign of global warming? I had to explain what an windshield ice scraper was to someone who had never seen snow.

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Aug. 28, 2015 Reduce

One of the people who go through my trash complained that I was not throwing away enough recyclable material. It was one of the odder conversations I have had in the twenty-first century. I explained I was trying to reduce the amount of things I used in general. I seldom buy newspapers and use far fewer disposable containers than I used to. This shows you never know what impact your actions may have on other people.

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Aug. 27, 2015 Trump Versus Ramos

On Aug. 26, 2015 at a DeBuque Iowa press conference, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ordered a hired security guard to forcibly remove Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos. Ramos tried to ask a series of questions about Trump’s views on immigration. Trump tried to ignore these questions and asked for questions from other reporters. He signaled for security to remove Ramos, who was told in the lobby to go back to Mexico. Ramos is an American citizen and respected journalist. Because of the presence of news cameras, Ramos was allowed to return to the press conference and asked questions that Trump failed to satisfactorily answer.

Public persons seeking public office that speak in public places should understand the public’s right to know. It is never a good sign when a journalist is not allowed to cover an event or ask a question. Ejecting a journalist says a lot about the people doing the ejecting.

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Aug. 26, 2015 Coupons Coupoffs

Coupons are no longer worth the effort. They used to have simple discounts. Now they have complicated restrictions about which stores and what time periods you can use them. In many cases they require buying much more than you need…or want. I’ll be shopping somewhere else. So, if you want to buy three dozen bananas in Bakersfield, be there at three in the morning and save ten percent. You can have mine.

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Aug. 25, 2015 Stock Market Loses 1000 Points

Yesterday the New York Stock Exchange lost 1000 points out of a total of over 16,000 in the first few minutes of trading. People forget that in 2009 the total was about 8000 points, so the percentage drop was less. People seem more concerned about Wall Street than Main Street, where things have been shaky for years. Trouble on one street eventually causes trouble on another. I think it was Will Rogers who said that the Great Depression started after WWI, it just took ten years for rich people in New York to notice. The current trouble seems to be caused by a China’s inability to achieve sustained domestic growth. Workers have to be able to afford the products and services they provide.

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Aug. 24, 2015 Long Receipts

Okay, what is the deal with long receipts? I bought one item at a store and there was the basic information about the purchase followed by three coupons, a invitation to a website and a survey. It was so long that Miss America could wear it as a sash. I do not need a receipt that could double as a bio-degradable or tax-deductible scarf.

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Aug. 23, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Hard Drives

Twenty years ago you could pay a thousand dollars for 100 MB of memory that would fit in a shoebox. Today you could pay a hundred dollars for a terabyte that would fit in a deck of cards. Despite this, magnetic disk storage is still vulnerable to physical and electrical shocks. They still wear out like any mechanical device. They still have a place in large cloud server networks because of their low cost and reliability.

Flash drives are killing hard drives in mobile devices like phone and laptops.

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Aug. 22, 2015 El Nino

According to weather predictions, there will be a strong El Nino effect this winter. For California it may mean lots of rain, flooding and mudslides. Sadly it will not mean the end of the drought. We would need at least three El Nino events to even catch up on our water supply.

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Aug. 21, 2015 Hottest Year Ever

According to a story by CNN’s Mariano Castillo and Brandon Miller, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2015 may be the hottest year since humans have been keeping records. It as confirmed by the Japan Meteorological Agency. For over a hundred years scientists have been collecting information from weather stations. Before that they determined weather data from measuring tree rings, ice cores, pollen counts, sediment layers and other climate indicators. It is now the hottest it has been in 4000 years.

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Aug. 20, 2015 Road To Mandalay

My people tell me that someone looked at my site near the border of India and Myanamar (also known as Burma). According to satellite photos they were in the middle of the jungle. Pretty cool. Reminds me of Kipling’s poem “The Road To Mandalay.”

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Aug. 19, 2015 Solar Power Grid Implications

If every building has its on solar power and battery storage, then there is less need for a power grid or power plants. There are no more giant power lines on giant towers strung across the countryside. No more linemen for the county. The new decentralized system would be less vulnerable to disruption in a disaster. The damage would be limited to a few buildings and not to a larger area. Surrounding buildings would be able to temporarily supply power until repairs could be made.

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Aug. 18, 2015 Robot Car Implications

There are lots of implications about a complete roll out of robotic electric cars. You would not have to own one. You would pay only for what you need when you need it. There would be no cab drivers. There would be a fleet of cars that you could order up from your phone. You would not have car payments or insurance premiums or fuel bills. You could have even more storage space in your garage. There would be no accidents or traffic. People could use their devices as they move down the street. Older people could still be mobile and active. Kids could go to school without a bus. It might be more efficient than mass transit because it would take people to precisely where they want to go without waiting for a bus. You might be safer than on a bus. Police would not have to pull people over for traffic violations. Suspects would be locked in and taken into custody (unsettling for the innocent).

Who would own this fleet of cars? Corporations or communities?

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Aug. 17, 2015 Sharing News

I wanted to thank all the people who opened their homes, cars and phones to me as I quietly moved around the country putting together a story about what they call the sharing economy. The one thing I can say is that it was very hot everywhere, but that is not news to anyone.

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Aug. 16, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Floppy Disks

Twenty years ago the most common way to store and transfer data was on floppy disks. The original floppy disks of the 1970s were square black flexible envelopes with holes cut for access to the flexible magnetic disks inside. They came in eight inch and later five and a quarter inch sizes and stored a few hundred kilobytes. By the 1980s there were rigid plastic diskettes in three and a half inch sizes storing about one megabyte of data. I remember this because Sony designed the Mavica digital camera around its ability to accommodate a diskette. If the disks had been smaller, the camera would have been too.

Twenty years ago Iomega introduced a slightly thicker 3.5″ diskette that stored a hundred megabytes, but that was the beginning of the end.

The better capacity and stability of compact disks killed the diskette. By 2000 many computers could create a CD with a storage of 750 megabytes. By 2005 DVD burners could store over seven gigabytes.

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Aug. 15, 2015 Clear The Shelters

There is a event today called Clear The Shelters. If you have the ability to take in a pet, go to your local animal shelter and see the remarkable animals there. They are waiting for you.

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Aug. 14, 2015 Two Months Too Late

A recruiter contacts a candidate about a six month contract. The client likes the candidate but does not want to spend the money, so they go with somebody cheaper. Two months later the recruiter contacts the same candidate again about a four month contract at the same company. The client had to get rid of the cheaper guy, who made a real mess. The candidate said it would now take eight months to fix and that the hourly rate remained the same. Being pennywise and pound foolish, the company went out of business.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Aug. 13, 2015 Alphabet Google Org Chart

Google is reorganizing as Alphabet. Here is an org chart.

08-13-15AlphabetGoogleChart

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Aug. 12, 2015 California Car Wash

I was driving down a suburban California street and saw a guy washing his car in the driveway like it was 1950. His lawn was a bright green. I suspected there was a slip and slide unattended in the backyard. Someone clearly had not gotten the message about the drought. So I stopped and asked him about it. He said all of his neighbors were on vacation and he thought it would be fun.

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Aug. 11, 2015 Apocalypse Cow

It is hard to eat healthy on the road. After a long drive down the highway I stopped at a fast food restaurant. I ordered a hamburger and got a funny answer. The kid behind the counter said “We have no meat.” The manager forgot to order more food the day before. I took it as a sign and walked across the parking lot to a grocery store and tried to buy a banana at the self-checkout stand. Apparently bananas have no barcodes and I was told to wait until the manager came back from their lunch break to reset the machine. I decided to keep driving. Maybe I would find some quinoa by the side of the road.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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Aug. 10, 2015 Presidential Debate Headcount

There a lot of people running for President. As a debate management rule, there should never be more people on stage than in the audience.

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Aug. 9, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Microsoft

Twenty years ago you probably had a desktop computer that ran the Microsoft Windows 95 operating system. Ten years ago you had a laptop that ran Windows XP. In 1995 I used Microsoft products everyday because everyone else did too. Today, I don’t have a single one of their products on my device. What happened?

When you bought a PC in 1995, Microsoft dominated the software market. Virtually every PC had Windows preloaded and bundled with a suite of Microsoft Office products like Word and Excel. This dominance also helped Internet Explorer and Hotmail become the most common way people used the Internet.

Some people just did not like Microsoft and continued using Apple Macintoshes. They cost more but were easier to use. Some liked how they could design websites on it. Some said Macs were more secure. Some liked how easy it was to listen to music. Apple was like Britain in 1940. Alone, but still fighting.

Then I noticed a change. Steve Jobs became CEO of Apple and Bill Gates stepped down at Microsoft. Fifteen years ago I began to see people bring their Mac laptops to meetings. Ten years ago I saw people from Microsoft bring Macs to meetings. Five years ago I saw very few laptops of any sort, just iPhones.

It was an interesting transition. While some people took Microsoft to court for being a monopoly, the best way for Apple to win was to make a better alternative. They did.

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Aug. 8, 2015 Stephen Colbert Finale

Stephen Colbert’s last show ended with him flying off with Santa Claus. I guess all that crazy business was to point out that he was playing a fictional character. The question is will he be effective as just himself in his new show. We will see in about a month from now.

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Aug. 7, 2015 Jon Stewart Daily Show Finale

Jon Stewart stepped down after sixteen years on Comedy Central’s Daily Show. He made a point in showing how many people it took to make the show a success. Just about everybody who ever worked on the show was recognized. Being from New Jersey, he closed with Bruce Springsteen. Combined with Stephen Colbert’s trippy finale, this is the end of an era. Two of the best counterpoints to billionaires controlling public debate are off the air just as the country is heading into one the most decisive elections in history. Will Trevor Noah be able to fill Stewart’s shoes? John Oliver, Larry Wilmore and Seth Meyers do not yet have the audience or influence yet. There is no sign that Stephen Colbert’s new show will be as political in its attempt to compete with the more juvenile Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel. We have not heard the last of Jon Stewart, but for now his voice is silent.

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Aug. 6, 2015 Agoura Adorer

My people tell me that someone they call the Agoura Adorer reads my fiction down in Los Angeles. Hooray for Hollywood!

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Aug. 5, 2015 Mountain Viewer

My people tell me that another long time website visitor is in Mountain View. The actual location raised an eyebrow.

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Aug. 4, 2015 Northwest Heatwave

I was covering a story in Portland about some demonstrators trying to stop a Shell Oil icebreaker from leaving port. The ship may be obsolete by the time it gets to the Arctic Ocean. It was a hundred degrees Fahrenheit in Portland. This is very unusual. People there are not set up for that kind of heat. Most buildings do not have air conditioning. It is so hot and dry that the entire state of Oregon is in a fire danger zone.

People are rethinking how they live. One person I know bought a house that backs onto some open space. It seemed like a great idea until they realized that one spark out there could cause a wildfire and burn their house down. They spent last weekend clearing the brush around the property. Next weekend they are putting the place up for sale. Knowing what most people know, who would buy it?

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Aug. 3, 2015 Zombie HOA Complete

Dear Resident:

It has come to the attention of the Sunnyfield Estates Homeowner’s Association that a number of issues need to be addressed.

1. Resident and Guest Disputes

Some residents have been eating other residents. This violates the HOA agreement as seen on page 5. It has also come to our attention that recently there have been a large number of visitors wandering the property. Visitors must register at the security office upon entering and leaving. If you see any suspicious activity do not call our office and scream about zombies in an unprofessional manner. Contact the authorities. Complaints about property management can be made by visiting our website when the power and internet service is restored. The cable company said it will schedule repairs, but residents need to be home between the months of February and April. Until then, all correspondence must be sent by registered mail when postal service is renewed.

2. Windows and Doors

Several residents have boarded their windows with plywood. This violates the HOA agreement as seen on page 6. It states that all windows should be a clear, double-paned glass with charcoal gray trim supplied by our maintenance team. Also, the spray painting of front doors with words like “Infected” could adversely affect the property values of the entire neighborhood. Units without doors must be repaired within twenty-four hours and painted in an eggshell white to match the other doors.

3. Entrances

There are a large vehicles including a tank are blocking the main and side entrances of the property. These entrances should be kept open should emergency vehicles ever arrive. Please advise visitors to park in assigned guest parking to avoid having their vehicles towed.

4. Pets

A number of large dogs have been seen on the property. This violates the HOA agreement as seen on page 7, where it states that pets must not weigh more than 15 pounds and must be on a leash.

5. Water

Some residents have been taking water from the pool. While there is no rule against this in the HOA agreement. The cost of refilling the pool would be exceed the budget for this fiscal year. Also, draining the sprinkler system makes the landscaping more difficult and has an adverse affect on property values. Gardening is restricted to containers and planting wheat is forbidden because of gluten allergies for some residents.

6. Waste

Residents are not placing their trash in the dumpsters. If the dumpster is full, use the recycling bins, but make sure to staple an identifying tag so you can be fined for violating the HOA agreement as seen on page 8. While waste pickup has been erratic recently, the trash must be in dumpsters when the truck does finally arrive. Burying bodies on the property is not only against the HOA agreement as seen on page 9, it is a local zoning code violation. The punishment is currently death, which only compounds the problem.

Regards,

Clarrissa Finch, Property Manager

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Aug. 2, 2015 Blumbers

Big 20: Pay Phones

Twenty years ago if you were not at home and wanted to call someone you used a pay phone. For a quarter you could call anyone. If you did not have a quarter you could use a credit card. They usually had a phone book chained to them. Pay phones were located everywhere. You could find them in hotels, stores, public buildings and phone booths. A phone booth was a glass box with a folding glass door that were located on street corners and in rural areas. It was ideal if you were on a trail in a national park and wanted to report a bear… outside your telephone booth.

Of course cell phones killed pay phones. You could call from anywhere and did not need quarters. I miss the high quality audio connection. Pay phones were actually a plot point in the movie “The Matrix”. Landline connections were depicted as the only reliable connections in and out of their virtual world. A movie that was seem as so cutting edge fifteen years ago seems antiquated now.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All right reserved.

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