August 23, 2017 at 10:00pm

Cars That Won’t Fit in the Garage

The garage in the house we’re buying is just under 17 1/2 feet deep. Sadly that pretty much rules out some cars, as we want to keep our cars in the garage, with the door closed. The following cars would stick out the back, making it impossible to close the door. So they have been taken off the shopping list.


2017 Audi A8L Extended, 20 feet, 10 inches long (over three feet t0o long).

2017 A8L Extended


1977-1984 Fleetwood Limo, 20 feet long (nearly three feet too long).

1979 Fleetwood Limo

1959 Eldorado Seville, 18 feet, 9 inches (the whole fin would be outside).

1959 Eldorado Seville


2016 Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, 18 feet, 8 inches (more than a foot too long).

2016 Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

Ford Model T - Keep this one on the shopping list!

The 1926 Model T Roadster would fit nicely in the garage with more than five feet to spare. In fact, that might have been the original car at the house!

1926 Model T Roadster

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

August 19, 2017 at 12:55pm

Posting Pictures on Microblog

In the first few days of my being on Microbog, I noticed people posting images, so I asked how I could do that. The answer was, Use the app.” I found out they meant I should use the Microblog app on the iPhone, which apparently made it easy to post a picture. This was when I first discovered that Microblog is written by Apple users, its technology mainly focused on using Apple devices for posting on Microblog. I hadn’t noticed this restriction when I signed up for the Kickstarter for Microblog.

But there is a web interface for Microblog, so surely there must be a way I could post a picture using that. No, I was told there wasn’t, not yet. But I found it could be done, using markdown and my Dropbox Public folder. The images had to be in that particular folder, a type of folder that Dropbox was no longer including with Dropbox accounts. By logging in to Dropbox, I could navigate to that folder and I could then get a public link for any image there. If I used that link in the URL of the image syntax in markdown, the picture would appear on Microblog, when posted.

I was thrilled that I had figured out how to get a picture to post. Here is the first picture I posted and when I saw it worked, I posted a text message, needling the user who told me I would need an iPhone for posting pictures.
First image

The next day, I posted my favorite image of my car.
Porsche 996

And on June 15, 2017 I posted my favorite picture of Nina Widjaja posing with a Telefunken Concerto radio.
Nina with Telefunken radio

A couple of days later I posted a picture from Bangkok Airport, but it gave a very unsatisfying result, ugly really.
Virulhuk at Bangkok Airport
I discussed the issue with Manton and then never tried to post another image again on Microblog.

Until today, that is. I had received an email from Dropbox, informing me that my Public folder links will become inactive on September 1.” Once again an Internet service was changing the rules on me. They said if I want to shares those files again, you’ll need to use shared links instead. I read the instructions and tried it on Microblog. The picture I was trying to post came out blank, above where I posted a title for the picture. On my About page, it showed the text Before Dylan Show” where the picture belonged.
shared link text only

In the Home stream, the area for the image was just completely blank.
shared link not working

Here’s the picture I was trying to post.
Before Dylan Show
Works okay here, doesn’t it.

So it looks like beginning in September, I will no longer have the ability to post pictures on Microblog. I guess it isn’t a huge loss. I had stopped posting images there, even using my Dropbox trick, because the result was so ugly with my Virulhok photo. And Blot seems to do a great job in posting pictures, so I guess I’ll just use Blot for images.

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Blot Dylan images Microblog
August 15, 2017 at 9:11pm

Long Gone, Not Forgotten

A few years ago, I was collecting all the Sandy Denny albums I could get my hands on. She died at the very young age of 31 in April 1978, as a result of complications from a fall down a staircase, hitting her head on concrete.

When I was collecting her albums, I don’t remember ever seeing any videos of her performing. That changed yesterday when I found this 1970 video of her performing four songs, including John the Gun, one of my favorites.

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Fotheringay Live at The Beat Club 1970
00:00 Nothing More
04:52 Gypsy Davey
08:42 John The Gun
13:34 Too Much Of Nothing

John the Gun Lyrics
My shadow follows me
Wherever I should chance to go
John The Gun did say
’’If you should chance to meet me
As I wander to and fro
Sad would be your day”

Put away your guns of steel
Death comes too soon for all
Your Master He may need you soon
And you must heed His call

My life is mine my gun did shine
To take what goes before me
Never shall I fall
Ideals of peace are gold
Which fools have found
Upon the plains of war
I shall destroy them all

Put away your guns of steel
Death comes too soon for all
Your Master He may need you soon
And you must heed His call

I am the master of the games
That you will hardly ever play
So I will teach your sons
And if they should die
Before the evening of their span of days
Why will they die

Put away your guns of steel
Death comes too soon for all
Your Master He may need you soon
And you must heed His call

Condemn me not
For always will I play the game of war
In moonshine or in sun
If any cross the path I choose to tread
Their chances they are poor
My name is John The Gun

Put away your guns of steel
Death comes too soon for all
Your Master He may need you soon
And you must heed His call

Sandy Denny, Chipstead Street, London 1972 by Jon Lyons
Sandy Denny, Chipstead Street, London 1972 by Jon Lyons

images music
August 14, 2017 at 1:38pm

Using Footnotes in Blot

I’ve been working my way through the various features of Blot, taking Baby Steps, and having a pretty easy time of it. After it was so easy to get pictures working, I took another look at the Blot help page to see what I might take on next. Two things jumped out at me: footnotes and tags.

I couldn’t think of a reason I might need to use a footnote, but a recent experience had brought them to my attention. I had come upon a scholarly article by Steven Rings at the University of Chicago about one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” And I do mean scholarly! The pdf file of the text has 39 pages. with another pdf file of 27 pages which has the examples. It has an Abstract, a Table of Contents, an Introduction, many pages of discussion, a Bibliography, a Discography and 102 Footnotes. I was last reading scholarly papers in grad school at UC Berkeley, a loooooong time ago. This thing has the whole nine yards, verrrrry impressive.

The footnotes impressed me with the sheer brilliance of their execution on the web page. Each numbered footnote has a footnote number in parentheses, elevated a bit at the end of the relevant line in the text. Hover over that number and you can read the text of the footnote in a popup window. Click on the number and you jump to that footnote in the Footnotes section at the bottom. And just below that is a link labeled, Return to text.” Click on that and you’re right back to the text you were reading when you clicked on the footnote number. I had NEVER seen that on a web page and I was very impressed.

So when I saw Footnotes in the Formatting blog posts section of the Blot help pages, I focused in a bit in my reading. The Blot instructions had a title and four lines of text. That was it. So it was a candidate I put on my list for possible future experiments. I tried to think of an article I could write that would need footnotes, but I couldn’t think of one.

And then one fell into my lap! There had been a bit of a discussion of my article about Location (Where Are You From?) on Microblog and I decided to edit the original article to add that discussion as an Update. As I did that, the opportunity for a footnote, even the necessity for a footnote jumped out at me. I went back and read the four lines of Blot instructions about footnotes and gave it a try. It worked beautifully immediately, first try. Take a look at the updated article.

Okay, it doesn’t have the popup window for reading the footnote. But clicking on the footnote number does take you to the footnote at the bottom. AND look at the tiny little arrow to the right of the image at the bottom. Click on it! It takes you back up to the text where you clicked on the number 1 for that footnote. I nearly fell over. Four lines of instruction, easily implemented and I get that? WOW!

Blot continues to amaze me with its simple implementation and the clean, clear formatting that results. I am very pleased that I decided to give this thing a try. I received no compensation of any kind for this endorsement. I’m just a happy camper.

I searched Google for Best blogging software” and got sixteen results on the first page with lots of articles comparing five to eighteen platforms, all the usual suspects and none mentioned Blot. In fact Blot doesn’t seem to even be on the radar, except for one site from a domain name seller. But that’s fine with me. I’m having a great time with both Blot and Manton’s Microblog (also not mentioned in these results) and I used a lot of Dave Winer’s many tools for the last several years. I don’t even remember how I found Blot, probably from someone on Microblog, maybe Jack Baty, who always seems to be on the bleeding edge of technology.

Did I mention that I don’t have to pay for any server in the cloud with Blot and my data is all in my own Dropbox folder?

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Microblog Blot
August 12, 2017 at 12:43pm

Using Images in Blot

Now we will try some Baby Steps with images in Blot.

I made a folder in the Blot folder inside Dropbox called Images, except it has an underscore as the first character, before the Images part, _Images. That makes it a public file, according to my limited understanding. Then I plopped an image in there, a 244 X 340 jpg file, and made the usual markdown text for an image, you know, the one that starts with an exclamation mark. But the URL for the image is not the usual path to a place on the Internet. Instead it points to that folder using /_Images/Tintin & Snowy.jpg. I think the geeks call it a relative path. I copied the format from the Blot help file on Formatting blog posts. Look down near the bottom. I saved the file as a draft and the image looked great on the preview of my blog. This experiment took about 30 seconds and worked on the first try.

So I got:
Tintin & Snowy
Pretty nice, huh?

I could use the URL pointing to the image on the Internet, where I actually stole it. If I put that super long URL into my markdown image text, I get this:
Tintin & Snowy
Looks the same, right? But the second version is subject to linkrot. If they move that image, it disappears from my blog. So downloading the file and using the relative path link to my Blot folder with the images is far superior. PLUS all my images will be there in that one folder inside my Dropbox Blot folder. That just feels so simple and elegant to me. Of course you have to make sure the image isn’t restricted by copyright.

I learned about this Tintin character while chatting with Nitin Khanna on Microblog last night. His unofficial nickname in his family is Tintin, because his actual first name has that tin” in it. So he uses one of the Tintin images as his profile image. I told him, I think it’s a very clever selection of a profile image: playful, fun, revealing something special about you.”

Having been introduced to this cartoon character, my next impulse was the same as always: look for used books on the subject. Well there are a lot, which is not too surprising, as The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century,” according to Wikipedia. As you can see, some of them are rather pricey.

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Blot images
August 11, 2017 at 11:26am

Where Are You From?

When I went to college, it was the first time I had been out of my home town on my own for any extended period of time. There was only one other person there from my high school. So that meant there were about 3,000 strangers on the campus, which was to become my new home for four years. I think we had a one week orientation period to get used to our new environment.

We all ate in the dining halls located in the women’s dorms, family style, maybe eight people at a table, mostly boy-girl-boy-girl. The first thing I learned to say was, Where are you from?” The answers were from all over, even a lot of foreign countries,” as we called them in those days. It was a good ice breaker. Soon we were having discussions and getting to know each other. I think we had name tags at that stage, so we didn’t have to ask the other obvious ice breaker, What’s your name?”

I had already been an amateur radio operator for several years at that point, so this felt pretty natural to me. In ham radio, the first exchange of information in making contact with a new station for the first time was to give one’s first name and one’s QTH, which means location, which meant city and state in most cases. This routine followed me to grad school, my next meeting ground for lots of people from all over. Once I had a regular job, we were all from the same town, so the ice breaker became, What’s your job?”

Then the Internet became the place to meet a lot of new people, from all over. Are we still defined by where we live? Apparently not. Microblog has a Discover page, which links to eighteen users and suggests that a new person follow some of them to get started. Everyone has an About page, or more like an About blurb, because they’re mostly pretty short. This is how people introduce themselves, presumably presenting what they’d like others to know about them, for starters. I looked at all eighteen and found two that gave their geographic location: one in Saint Paul, MN and one in Austin. That’s it. More than 88% made no mention of where they are from.

100% of them gave the URL to their blog or other website, fairly often they listed nothing else in their About blurb. This makes some sense. Microblog was started to provide a new platform for blogging and to encourage blogging. So where are we from? Our blogs. Who are we? Bloggers.

For the sixteen who didn’t disclose their geographic location on their Microblog About page, I clicked on the link to their blog or website. On the landing page where I arrived, there was usually a link to another About page. I looked at their landing page and then on their about page. Four of the sixteen gave their geographic location on one or both of those pages, the rest did not. So we’re down to 2/3 of the original eighteen on the Discover page who were still in mystery locations, as far as we could tell.

I did not continue the experiment, hunting through their website to find a geographic location. I did happen to notice that with one of them, it would take only one more click to learn their location.

Does this all stem from a desire to maintain some privacy? We know we’re being tracked all the time on the Internet. Is this a way of hiding out, just a bit? Maybe we don’t like being pinned down. I usually have Location turned off on my phone and this pisses off Google and some other websites, like Amazon. I get nudged to please turn on my location. Usually I don’t.

Or has geographic location become irrelevant? Especially in the US, it seems like every city has all the same name brand stores in all the malls. We can watch the same TV networks in all of them. And so on. Maybe it doesn’t matter where we’re from any more, as every place is same same but different, as they say in Thailand.

Like Bob Dylan, I grew up in the Midwest, but I’ve been living in California for the last fifty years, currently in Salinas. Soon we will be moving back to my home town for my eventual retirement. Notice I didn’t say where in the Midwest? Ha ha!


Discussion of this posting on Microblog
Michael H. Gerloff @kulturnation
@Ron Since I heard a discussion (backed with scientific studies and statements of affected people) about the question’s traumatic effects on people who are asked I knew why I never liked this where are you from” ice breaker. (Ron, please do not read this as a rude reply - just crossed my mind when I read your artcle.)
Ron Chester @Ron
@kulturnation It would be interesting to see one of those studies. Should I add a trigger warning at the top of my article? No worries, no offense taken! I can imagine that the Q could be offensive, if asked with no real interest in the answer, or as a put down.
Michael H. Gerloff @kulturnation
@Ron The studies were made in Germany. One problem is that (here) it is mostly asked to people with migration background (or having a foreign” name or just looking like foreigners). These people then are put in boxes, and it’s not a conversation that starts but something like a script.
Ron Chester @Ron
@kulturnation I see, so not a Q asked out of curiosity about the A. More like a statement, You’re from a bad’ place,” disguised as a Q, which makes the immigrant feel bad, of course. Rude intolerance, hate under the surface. Like screaming, How dare you be so different!” 1
Michael H. Gerloff @kulturnation
@Ron No, often people ask out of curiosity”, but the plot” of the conversation often runs like: My name is Olsson” - Where are you from” - Washington” - No, I mean yr name sounds Skandinavic” - My grandparents came from Sweden” - Ah, Sweden, I’d love to visit the country” (1/3)
@Ron (2/3) and 15 min later the people have flushed Mr Olsson with all their knowledge” of Sweden, but don’t know anything about him. Or when it runs a slight different plot line, they know everything about him and his family and haven’t talked about themselves for a minute.
@Ron (3/3) This is the experience of many people in the studies. They feel objectified with very negative consequences; and so many would prefer to be asked what they are doing. Or even given the chance to ask.
Ron Chester @Ron
@kulturnation Hmmmmm. Like when folks sit around chatting, but no one is listening, everyone just waiting for their turn to talk? A willingness to listen/understand is a prerequisite for real live communication. Maybe What kind of work do you do?” would be a good ice breaker.

© 2017 by Ron Chester - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  1. Amazing serendipitous irony:
    On Microblog in the Home stream, the very next posting after my one about hate under the surface” was one by Khurt Williams
    Khurt Williams @khurt
    No hate

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