fundamental tech tips

David Pogue blogs at the NYT about a dozen or so basic technology tips that will make life easier. Most are computer related, but there are a couple cell phone and digital camera tips also. These are terrific! There were even a couple in there I wasn’t aware of (hint: they both involve the windows key on the keyboard).

for example:

  • You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail or Web page.
  • You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just type the remainder: “” or “,” for example.

read the entire post.

short video of vacation

Here’s a two minute clip of some of the weeks highlights.  some of the photos are in high resolution in this flickr set.

Austen: I tried to post on the higher quality, but they immediately busted me for copyright violation, probably the Amy Winehouse on the soundtrack. If you go to the youtube site, they have a “watch in high quality” version.

outdoor cooking

I enjoy camp cooking – things seem to taste better outdoors and this last trip was no exception.  Firstly, after trying my entire life to replicate a good plate of diner-style hash browns, I’ve finally found the trick.  I picked up a box of Betty Crocker seasoned skillet hash browns which are shelf-stable dehydrated potatoes.   I followed the box directions to cover in boiling water for a few minutes, then fry them up in margarine.   It worked great!   No question the best hash browns I’ve ever made, and a great accompaniment to my marinated steak grilled over an open fire.

Secondly, on these trips I always hope to get in one good fish dinner, and although the fishing was really steady, I wasn’t catching anything good to eat.   Finally, on my last evening out, right at sunset, I landed a 14″ flounder, an excellent size for dinner for one.   I carefully removed the 4 fillets and prepared them with a spray coating of margarine, then covered them in panko crumbs, wrapped them in lightly oiled foil and cooked about 15 minutes over the open fire turning once.  Voila!   Panko-crusted flounder and green beans.  I really really missed having a cold crisp Riesling to wash this down.

BTW, here’s my no-fuss tip for heating up canned vegetables or gravy when camping.   Open the can like above and empty out about an inch worth of product, then fold the top back down to keep ash out, and place the can in the fire pit right next to some glowing coals.  Watch carefully because it might boil over, then remove and serve right from the can!  Nothing to clean up but your fork.

The secret muslim problem

Although Long Point campground was nearly empty during my weekday stay, I did have a couple of political conversations, mainly with Obama supporters.   Thursday afternoon, a popup camper appeared in the site right next to mine, it turned out my neighbors were two senior ladies, one was visiting from New York to see her grandchildren.   I introduced myself and mentioned that I would be listening to the Palin-Biden debate later in the evening.  It was apparent that the one lady was a McCain supporter, but they weren’t really interested in the debate.

Much later, I was sitting back after cooking and cleaning up dinner (excellent flounder BTW, more on that later).  The debate coming through on my radio was clearly audible in both our campsites, and the neighbor wandered over making small talk about the persistent raccoons and the bugs.    She told me that one of her big issues was the Iraq war, and she definitely did NOT want us to cut out and leave.  In fact, she has a son serving in Baghdad, and she said he agrees, that he told her he’s fighting to keep “them” from attacking the US again, and he wants to finish the job.     That impressed me a bit, that she was pro-war even with her son over there in harms way.  But then she went on, to say that the thing that bothers her about Obama is that …  he doesn’t put his hand over his heart when he says the pledge of allegiance.

Excuse me??   I say.   That’s not an issue!   No, really, she says.  Well, I say, that’s like the argument that Obama is a secret muslim!!  Wait.  Do you think that Obama is a secret muslim???  She gives me a look.  YOU DO??   And she smirks back at me.  Oh for christ’s sake.   I tell her I’m terminating this conversation because that is just plain ignorant.    She takes great offense at that, turns on her heel and walks back to her campsite complaining out loud to her friend how she’s been insulted.

The question then is this: what do you say to someone with that belief?   Here, I’ll put the whole thing into words:  Obama is a secret Islamic terrorist who is going to take over the US by getting elected president.  And he’s got everyone in our country fooled except some extreme rightwing nutcases. does its usual thorough job of debunking all this, including the hand-over-heart fiction.  But I’m at a loss when trying to correct morons like this woman.  And this isn’t the first person I’ve encountered who believes that bullshit.   In fact, its the third.

no more cell photos

My cellphone died, and I went to a verizon store (Tuesday) and got a replacement. but the camera doesn’t work on the replacement.

Fishing has been pretty steady, but no quality fish. Lots of action with ladyfish, bluefish and occasional catfish. spent one afternoon at the beach. weather rained out one day.

I found a wifi hotspot in a (closed) restaurant parking lot. thats where this comes from. I’ll be back home friday night.