Archives » December, 2006

December 31, 2006

Into The Sunset

2006 is passing into the sunset. Time for 2007!

Into The Sunset

December 30, 2006

Folsom Valley Railway

The Folsom Valley Railway is a cool little miniature railroad in Folsom California. It runs through the City Park next to the Folsom Zoo. It’s pulled by The Cricket, a live steam locomotive that dates back to 1950. It ran for years in Berkeley’s Tilden Park, then in 1970 it was brought to Folsom, and ever since it’s run on a little 3/4 mile loop in the park.

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December 29, 2006

Folsom Zoo

Since we’re spending a few days over in the Sacramento Valley, we’ve been looking for things to do that we haven’t done before. This is tougher than it sounds; turns out there’s not a lot to do here. But we’ve found a few. Wednesday we went to the California State Railroad Museum, and on Thursday we hit up the Folsom Zoo. It’s a nice little place, just a few acres in size but jam packed with plenty of animals.

Plus, right outside the zoo, there’s a little miniature railway you can ride around the park. Sam enjoyed the train ride most of all. In fact, the whole time we were in the zoo, he could hear the whistle, and was paying more attention to the train than the animals!

Anyway, here are a few pictures.

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And here’s more on Flickr.

December 28, 2006

Railroad Museum

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California State Railroad Museum photoset.

December 25, 2006

Christmas Tree Then And Now

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Bleh. Long day, long week.

December 23, 2006

Run VNC In Vista

One of the annoyances I’ve been having with Windows Vista is that I coudn’t get a VNC server to work. VNC is a remote desktop program that lets you hop on to another computer, see the screen, and take control of the mouse and keyboard. I use it a ton not only inside the office, to provide support to other computers, but also when I’m working from home and I want to hop on my office computer. So not having that option under Vista has been a big void for me, and the Remote Desktop is not a good alternative, because it doesn’t let you see the same desktop you see when you’re actually sitting at the computer. Remote Desktop opens up a new profile and a new user session, and actually locks the computer so anyone else can’t use it. Not good for what I need to do. So I need a VNC server, like RealVNC, running so I can do the work I’m accustomed to.

Today I was Googling around, hoping to finally find an answer to the problem. And I did, sort of, in a roundabout way. It turns out that there are two ways for VNC to run. The first way is to run it as a service. That means it starts automatically and it’s always running in the background, even when you log off your profile. The other way is to run it in User Mode, so it runs like any other program, like Outlook or Firefox, and it shuts down when you log off. Obviously running VNC as a service is the better way to go, but that way doesn’t work under Vista because of some of the new security layers they’ve thrown in the mix. But, it turns out, running VNC in User Mode does work under Vista, and although it’s not ideal, at least it works. And working half-assed is better than not working at all in my eye, so now with this workaround I can get my VNC groove on with Vista, until the VNC folks figure out how to make the Service Mode play nice with Vista’s new security. So that makes me happy.

Details on the workaround can be found here.

Update, 2008: Supposedly the new, paid versions of RealVNC, version 4.3 and later, work with Vista. But I haven’t put down the money to find out.

December 15, 2006

Kitty Cat Dance

Because it’s Friday:

Placeblogs Sell Out

I guess this is the ultimate goal: a local newspaper buying an independently-run community site. I guess that’s one of only three possible endgames for a site like that: sell it, keep it running independently forever, or be forced to shut it down at some point. And it seems like the only one with any money behind it.

Of course, that assumes that making money is your end goal. #2 is a perfectly viable option for most local sites and placeblogs, and it’s probably the plan most of them are running with at the moment. Keep a day job, work on the site in your spare time, and get spare change with Google Ads. Not a “business plan”, exactly, but good enough apparently for hundreds of sites out there. And I guess there’s always a #4: grow the site into a self-sustaining business of its own, and compete with the local paper. That’s the Weblogs, Inc. model, but I think it mostly worked out for them because they were able to have a hit right out of the box with Engadget. And they’re not doing local anyway, so it’s hardly the same situation. They have a widespread national and international audience, able to bring in page views in the seven digits. Starting a local site kind of narrows your reach a bit, making it really hard to get the kind of ad volume needed to sustain a business, even an online one.

So #1 is probably more likely, and even then you’ve got to grow to be a powerful force in the community and make yourself attractive to the newspaper. You’ve got to be at a point where the paper couldn’t just start a similar site of their own and outpace you in six weeks. Fresno Famous, the site that was sold, seemed to be there. It was probably cheaper and easier for the newspaper just to buy it than to try to compete. Around Carson, on the other hand, could be snuffed out in a matter of days if the Nevada Appeal ever got their shit together. I guess I’m just lucky they haven’t yet.

Not that I’m looking for an exit, it’s just that I’m not going to live in Carson City forever. So naturally I’ve got to wonder what will happen to the site after I’m gone.

December 14, 2006

The Amazing Race 10×13: Say Your Deepest Prayers Ever

James Dad

My final recap for the Amazing Race 10 is now up at

Then the phone goes to James’ dad, and I’m sure he’s a great guy, and he didn’t ask to be on television, so I’ve got to cut him a little slack, but he’s wearing a lime green shirt and his eyebrows…they…oh god, I don’t even know what to say. I mean, he’s gotta know what they look like, so this has to be deliberate, but there aren’t even words to describe what’s going on with this guy’s eyebrows. This is one time I’ve got to include a picture, because the English language fails me here.

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recaplet
TV Squad review
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

December 10, 2006

Santa Train

Today we went with some friends down to the Santa Train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. And guess what? There was a train, and Santa was on it. Wow! Truth in advertising!

So since time is short, and a thousand words and all that, here are some photos.

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#25 pulling around the bend. This is the last time they’re running a steam train until May 2007.

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Handing out candy canes.

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And shaking hands.

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Santa escaping out the caboose.

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Inside the museum, the #22 Inyo.

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The #27.

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And Whistlin’ Billy, the train for kids.

More pictures.And a movie.