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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Brian M. Westbrook's LiveJournal:

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Friday, November 9th, 2007
11:25 am
My Campaign for One Page Trip Results
Syndicated from: blog.brianwestbrook.net

I need a haircut.

Many "Green" initiatives are complex, involved projects that span multiple agencies and take months to complete. Here's one tip for the Metro KC website that can save precious resources with a few lines of code (or, more likely, a few *less* code).

My mother is in town. I lent her my vehicle today so she could trek out to Bellevue Square in (as my friends and I refer to the other side of the lake) "Eastern Washington". Hopefully she'll return with plenty of expensive gifts for me. Meanwhile, back to that haircut... I'm heading out of town for the weekend and have a busy week next week. Fortunately, I was able to schedule an appointment with Liana @ noon today. Without my car... I'll be taking the bus. Yay, fun!

So I go on to the Metro KC Transit Planner ("Plan Trip" @ transit.metrokc.gov) and enter the address of my office (1501 4th Avenue) and that of Liana’s Hair Salon (1125 E Olive Street) with an arrive-by time of 12:00 Noon. The trip results suggest three single-bus itineraries on routes 11, 10 and 49. Sorted! I print the results to take with me… two pages spit out of the printer behind my desk. (See PDF)

The second page is merely footer information and links to "plan a new trip" and invitations to "investigate alternatives". All the essentials are on the first page.

Suggestion: Compress the trip results page so that most single-bus itineraries print on one page. I suspect I'm not alone in printing my results – and all those extra wasted pages throughout the Metro transit system could be conserved. A few minutes of simply eliminating line breaks (do we need a solid bar at the top of the results?), reducing font size, or merging some results to one line (could "send feedback", "plan return trip" and "revise original entries" be place on the same line?).

Now with page two in the blue bin for each of my outbound and return trips – I'm ready to get my haircut and the world will no longer be subject to my shaggy do.

Thanks for listening and joining me in the fight for single-page transit results!

Current Mood: creative
Wednesday, September 26th, 2007
10:47 am
Support me in Seattle's AIDS Walk -- this Saturday!
Still time to donate... and I appreciate every last dollar (peso, pound, euro) of your support!

Check out my progress and give generously here: http://aidswalk.brianwestbrook.net

Thanks for your support! :)

--BMW.

Current Mood: mellow
Monday, May 28th, 2007
6:00 am
Military Records Go Online At Ancestry.com
Syndicated from tech.brianwestbrook.com

KXL Tech Expert Segment for May 28, 2007

The genealogy website Ancestry.com has completed a project to digitize 90 million US military war records -- making them available online for the first time. The records, dating back to the early Jamestown settlement and covering every major conflict, include war-time images, draft cards from both World Wars, information from military yearbooks, prisoner-of-war records, military rosters, civil war pension records, and more. The information is free until June 6, the anniversary of D-Day.

I spent some time researching the website for today's radio report and learned some interesting details about my own past. For example, I was able to find an original marriage certificate from my mother's parents and details about my paternal grandfather's WWII draft. The site is a fascinating look at information that has long been "public record" -- but never as accessible to the general public. It is free to sign up and creating your own "tree" takes just a few minutes (once you get used to the interface). Adding detail about each of your relatives is as simple as clicking "Attach" and some of the artifacts are fun to review.

Will you find that you're a second cousin of Bill Gates and hit him up for millions? Probably not. Is there information about your family's history you'd care not to know? Likely. Is the site a good way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon? Indeed!

Did you find interesting history about your family? Learn something you didn't know about your ancestors' military past? Share your experiences with others in the comments.

For more on this topic, visit:


To hear my radio report, listen online at KXL.com Mondays at 6:40am and 8:40am. For this and other topics, visit my Tech Blog at tech.brianwestbrook.com

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
1:56 pm
Silverado: Gay strip / dance bar in PDX about to Close. :(
From Just Out (Portland):

http://www.justout.com/archives/issues/03_02_07/14.pdf

Seems Silverado is the latest bar on the condo-redevelopment chopping block.
Monday, March 5th, 2007
3:59 pm
Hijacked Myspace page could mean trouble for everyone
Syndicated from: tech.brianwestbrook.com

It might not be a jumbo jet, but a hijacked Myspace page can open the door to many problems -- identity theft, stolen data, or an inbox full of spam. It can affect not only the owner of the hijacked Myspace page -- but anyone who visits the page.

Since I get asked this question quite a bit -- I figured I'd post (if anything so I can point users here rather than re-typing the story... lazy? yup!).

Background
Typically the Myspace hijack is introduced when a page owner decides to pimp their profile out with one of the many available "free layouts" abundant on the web. Installing this code on your page can introduce a trojan-like code that will result in those visiting the site in being phished of their myspace login. Here's how...

Threat Details
While browsing Myspace (or a similar site), an unsuspecting user / victim clicks a link appearing to be from a myspace "friend" (often this link is to "Send Message" or "Add as a Friend". (See screenshot with this post, personal information hidden to protect the innocent.) The link you click then prompts you with a "you must be logged in to do that" page... and without too much thought... ("oh, myspace must've logged me out or something, right?")... . and without checking the URL (i.e. look for "login.myspace.com"), you've actually provided your myspace login information to the bad guys (who then cleverly re-direct you to the content you originally requested / your myspace home / someplace else that seems logical and doesn't raise your suspicion). The bad guys can now post bulletins / messages as YOU and spread the illegitimate login link to other victims...but wait, there's more...

Now where this gets *really* bad is when you've used the same password in myspace as you have for your email account.

Let's say your Myspace login is your email address (myspace@yourdomain.com) and a password (hijackvictim). If you, like many other users, have set your myspace password to be the same as your email password... I (representing evil-doers everywhere) can now log into your email account. Muhahaha....

And, as I'm sure you know, once I've got access to your email address... I can use the "forgot my password' link for a variety of sites -- obtaining access to bank accounts, ebay, etc. etc... (Click this link [mp3] for my 12 Feb 2007 report for Newsradio 750 KXL on identity theft.

Recommendation
My suggestion: Change your myspace password immediately to something VERY DIFFERENT from anything else associated with that email address. Change every other login that uses the same password to something new and unique to your myspace account -- do it now.

While not foolproof, some users pick a default password ("D0n't@sk!" and change it for every site... slighty... say, "D0n't@sk!a" for myspace.com since "A" is the first vowel... something you can remember, but that keeps your passwords unique... it's a start. (For more on good password techniques, listen to my report from 19 Feb 2007 here [mp3])


Quick Tips:
  1. Change your myspace password to something unique (even if you don't think you've been hijacked, change it now!)
  2. Don't use the same password for myspace as you do email, bank accounts, etc. (this is good advice in general, but especially for sites like myspace)
  3. If in doubt, follow these steps: Open a new browser window to the site you're trying to view.
  4. Just because it *looks like* Myspace (or your bank's site, etc.) -- doesn't mean it is!
  5. Avoid clicking links in emails or online messages from strangers (and even then, do so with caution!)


For more on this story, visit:

Current Mood: annoyed
Monday, February 26th, 2007
7:00 am
KXL Tech Expert Segment for February 26, 2007
Online Small Business Software: Google vs. Microsoft
Want to get your small business online but don't have the expensive resources to do it yourself? Microsoft and Google both launched new versions of their online web presence offerings last week and KXL Tech Expert Brian Westbrook has the three-minute rundown of what you need to know. Listen weekly to "Features on the :40's" on Newsradio 750 KXL (and online at KXL.com) each Monday for more

Listen to my report on Google and Microsoft's new offerings here: kxl_techexpert-onlinesoftware_20070226.mp3

Current Mood: geeky
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
3:00 pm
Seattle Pride Owes Seattle Center $100k
Listen to my radio report for Sirius Satellite Radio's OutQ ch. 109!
SEATTLE -- Seattle's 2007 Gay Pride is at risk with recent disclosure of a $100k debt owed by event organizers Seattle Out And Proud (SOAP) to the City of Seattle (owners of Seattle Center). Seattle Gay News broke the story Friday, I filed a report (mp3) for Sirius OutQ News on satellite radio (channel 109) today.

Related Links:

Hopefully all sides can work out an agreement and we can have a great 2007 Pride! :-/  If not, anyone want to go to San Francisco that weekend?  hehe

--BMW.


Seattle Pride official website

click to view more of *my* photos from 2006 Seattle Pride at Seattle Center


Current Mood: worried
Monday, February 19th, 2007
9:00 am
Tech Expert segment for 20070219
Syndicated from: tech.brianwestbrook.com

Default Router Passwords and Selecting Good Passwords


Nothing new for many of you reading this blog... but today I talked about why you should change your computer's default password on my weekly radio appearance. Listen here. (I noticed I haven't posted a radio report link in awhile, they're always at brianwestbrook.com...)

Have a great week!

--BMW.

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
10:10 pm
Hilarious video from today's snow storm (Portland)
I know there are millions of video clips out there. This one, really -- just watch it.

It seriously makes me want to buy a video camera... just in case! :)

--BMW.

http://www.nwcn.com/sharedcontent/VideoPlayer/videoPlayer.php?vidId=114054

Current Mood: impressed
Monday, January 15th, 2007
7:02 am
Tech Expert Segment for 20070115
CES & Macworld Recap

Bummed you didn't make it to MacWorld to hear Steve Jobs announce Apple's new iPhone?

Sad you missed a week in Vegas drooling over the latest in consumer electronics?

I've got the complete rundown from both shows on today's Tech Expert repot on Newsradio 750 KXL. The report airs live at 6:40 & 8:40 as part of KXL's "Features on the :40's" segemnts and can be heard online on brianwestbrook.com (right column of the homepage).

Have a great week!

--BMW.
Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
12:00 pm
"I'll take 'Unncessarily Complicated' for $500," Alex.
What is a "metastable allotrope of carbon which will slowly convert to the thermodynamically favoured allotrope, graphite"?

Extra credit if you know the answer without using The Google (or similar). :)

--BMW.

Current Mood: amused
Monday, December 11th, 2006
9:00 am
KXL Tech Expert Segment for 20061211
Syndicated from: tech.brianwestbrook.com

Holiday Gadget Guide
Nintendo Wii Logo/LinkBuying tech gifts for the holidays can be a daunting task. Just knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Never fear, your resident Tech Expert tackled the topic on-air today and is here with a replay for online listening. iPod vs. Zune? Wii vs. Xbox 360 vs. PS3? Extended warranties? All covered in this holiday gadget guide wrap-up... for more "Features on the :40's" with KXL's Tech Expert Brian Westbrook, listen live at KXL.com Mondays @ 6:40am and 8:40am.

Listen to today's report: kxl_techexpert-gadgetguide_20061211.mp3

If you're still looking for gift ideas for me... check out my Amazon Wishlist! ;-) Have a Geeky Holiday!

--BMW.
Tuesday, December 5th, 2006
3:00 pm
Family Stuck in Oregon: Online Maps to Blame?
Syndicated from: tech.brianwestbrook.com

google vs. yahoo vs. mapquestI did an interview today with Newsradio 750 KXL about online mapping sites and how GPS technology may have helped the family stuck in Oregon for a week. (The father remains missing as of this post.)

In preparation for the interview, I looked up the route the stranded family took from Grants Pass to Gold Beach. Curiously, Google (shown at left, top) sends travelers on a more direct (albeit closed during the winter months) route while Mapquest (middle) and Yahoo (bottom) send drivers south through California. This must be what they mean when they say "this information is for reference only" ... bet the Google lawyers are glad they insisted on *that* disclaimer today. :)

In preparation for the interview, I looked up the route the stranded family took from Grants Pass to Gold Beach. Curiously, Google (shown at left, top) sends travelers on a more direct (albeit closed during the winter months) route while Mapquest (middle) and Yahoo (bottom) send drivers south through California. This must be what they mean when they say "this information is for reference only", huh? I bet the Google lawyers are glad they insisted on *that* disclaimer today. :)
Monday, November 27th, 2006
5:00 pm
How Amazon.com Ruined My 2006 Christmas
With Thanksgiving a recent memory, our nation's attention seems to have shifted to consumerism in the form of holiday gift-giving. My family is no exception. Last year we discovered the convenience of Amazon Wish Lists. What, with the registry, comments, prioritization and convenient duplication-avoidance system -- it's perfect for high-tech families like ours.

BMW&apos;s Amazon.com Wish ListI updated my Christmas "Wish List" (view it here) last Saturday around the pre-Thanksgiving dinner table. Among the items added was the Tom Tom
Navigator 6 w/GPS receiver
(opting for the DVD maps so I can load on my own memory card) package.


Not being one to appreciate spoiled surprises, I made sure to set the "Don't show me what's been purchased: [X] during the month of December" option last year (screenshot at right). **checking calendar** Problem: Today is November 27. Amazon no longer shows the GPS software and receiver package in my wishlist (along with a few DVDs that are apparently headed under my tree as well). :( Early-bird shoppers have purchased these items on my list and since it is not yet "the month of December" -- they've been removed from my Wishlist. I bet they'll reappear in a few days ... stay tuned!
 

Dear Amazon,

Please change the "during the month of December" option to "from Black Friday until the end of December". Anyone over-eager enough to buy my Christmas presents before Thanksgiving deserves to have me find out what I'm getting. But isn't early holiday shopping what you're hoping for? Isn't that what all this "Cyber Monday" stuff is about?

Maybe Christmas 2007 will be better.

In Christmas Ruins,

--BMW.
disappointed@brianwestbrook.com




Bonus Blog Content:
In a pseudo-ironic coincidence (and while we're on the topic of Amazon.com), I discussed "Cyber Monday" today Newsradio 750 KXL's "Portland's Morning News" show. Here the clip here (mp3): kxl_techexpert-cybermonday_20061127.mp3


Screenshot: Amazon.com avoid spoiled options


Current Mood: disappointed
Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
11:01 am
Live from B6 1010 JFK-BOS
In seat 18@ just above the wing on Jetblue's new Embraer 190 to Boston!
Wednesday, November 15th, 2006
6:08 pm
Event Alert: Nutcracker on 13 December!
I'm pleased to invite all my friends to the Wed. 12/13 show of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker in Sea
9:00 am
Microsoft signs on to Portland's free WiFi network
You may recall back in July when I talked about the City of Portand approving a proposal from a silicon-valley startup to grant free wireless internet (or "WiFi") access to residents (listen: MP3). Now, Microsoft® has teamed up with MetroFi to provide advertising and content support.

According to the recent announcement, Microsoft’s MSN® service will become the "home page" containing local news, information, and (of course!) advertising. The free service, which will be subsidized by ads on this MSN launch page and a 1 inch banner on the top of all web pages viewed during a user’s online session, is slated to be active by mid-2008.

From my friends in Portland: Thanks Microsoft! Now if only we could get free WiFi in Seattle... (and light rail... and tax-free shopping... and strippers... and...)

Listen to my report here: KXL Live Report: Microsoft Signs on to PDX WiFi (11/15/06) (or anytime at: brianwestbrook.com)

For more on this story:

Current Mood: chipper
7:00 am
As if I needed another text messaging distraction...
I just discovered text messaging to LiveJournal! Watch out world... :) --BMW.
Sunday, November 5th, 2006
11:00 pm
Yahoo! advertises on Google?
screenshot of google mail page with yahoo text link ad highlightedMaybe I'm alone, but this struck me as somewhat odd: A *Yahoo* ad in my Google Mail window. You'd think Google would block the competition from advertising -- but I guess if they're willing to pay for it... Kinda tells you where Yahoo! thinks the traffic comes from. ;-)

I'd dig in further if I were truly interested... ehh.

I did brainstorm some possible explanations:
  • "Ask Yahoo why a stock splits, Google's stock just keeps rising?"
  • "We're too busy making money to think about splits, maybe Yahoo knows?"
  • "Yahoo cares about the stock market, we care about collecting the world's data!"

...submit yours in the comments section.

In other news, I'm thinking about switching to (full-disclosure alert: Google-owned) Blogspot. Any thoughts?




Monday, October 30th, 2006
4:00 pm
KXL Tech Expert Segment for 20061030
Syndicated from: tech.brianwestbrook.com
Dodgeball.comDodgeball.com Logo/Link
If you know anything about me in the past say, six months or so -- you know I might be a bit addicted to a Google site called Dodgeball. I haven't done so well in the rankings in past months (damn you Alex!!), but the service has a special place in my heart (was it the front page photo in mid-August?).

Anyway, before I get too far off topic... today's "Features on the :40's" segment on Newsradio 750 KXL in Portland, Oregon (and online at KXL.com) was about Dodgeball. Listen here: kxl_techexpert-dodgeball_20061030.mp3

And speaking of my weekly tech show... If you have ideas for topics you'd like to see covered, let me know. :) (Tech related -- please -- I can't help with your relationship problems and my investment advice is rubbish!)

Enjoy and thanks for listening (for yet another week)... ;-)

--BMW.

Current Mood: dorky
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