Chabot flowers

Here’s some true Great Art. Taken during last weekend’s campout at Chabot park and part of my famous Camping series.

Just another day in paradise. Couldn’t have been nicer.

Our visit with our friends the Taylors last night was delightful. They brought us shortcake with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and fresh whipped cream. Delicious! What wonderful friends we have.

Good day at work too. I’ve been experimenting with a little website for some of the group’s data, including a wiki for frequently-updated test procedures and such things. Don’t know yet whether there will be much interest in it, but I’m interested, anyway.

LRN4 pointed out correctly that we used the dutch oven on our recent campout, not the crockpot. That’s what I meant, of course. Must be getting old. It worked great, too. We’re actually getting fairly good at dutch oven cooking, if I do say so myself. Which I do. We tend to prefer main courses over desserts, unlike many of our camping friends. Dutch oven desserts are almost uniformly wretched. On this subject there can be no dispute.

I’ve been checking out some new search engines recently. First, there’s – Microsoft’s new entry. Sigh. What can I say about Bing? Basically, it’s useless. Not that it doesn’t function. It just doesn’t do anything better than Google. That’s all I ask – just do something better than Google. The search results aren’t quite as good as Google’s, based on my short, unscientific test. Other observers report that it apparently favors search results that feature Microsoft products and employees. Bing doesn’t look better than Google – it has Microsoft’s signature busy look with colorful backgrounds and various non-memorable graphic elements. Bing tries to specialize in video search results, with a supposedly nifty feature that starts videos in the search results window playing when you hover your mouse over them. I find this feature disconcerting. Play starts very quickly – too quickly, in fact. Just passing the mouse pointer over a video starts it playing immediately, with the result that you tend to get several videos playing at once, or starting and stopping, or doing something annoying.

I haven’t gotten any further with Bing. If I can find something I like there, I’ll let my Loyal Readers know. Maybe it’ll get better with time, although Microsoft’s track record in this area isn’t too strong either.

Speaking of getting better with time, I continue to be tremendously impressed with the website. They started out with just a few features and have grown like crazy, constantly adding cool new features. No fanfare, not much publicity. Just great new features. I was looking at the Music section last night. They have MP3s of practically every song in the hymn book, with and without vocals. They have sheet music with auto-playing “accompaniment” that allows you to determine the speed of playback. The Provident Living section started out with basically a few old talks from various church leaders. Now it contains an incredible depth of information on emergency preparedness, home production and storage, financial management, and who knows what else. There’s practical information on a huge number of topics.

Then there’s the genealogical information. Oh my goodness. They have everything you can imagine. And the church magazines, with searchable text from essentially every issue of every magazine ever published by the church. And information for interested non-members. And stake/ward websites with extensive calendars and searchable membership rosters (that stuff is for registered church members only). And MP3s and videos (including recent general conferences in beautiful HD video). And on and on. Bravo, church. I’ve never seen a better example of embracing technology everywhere it can do good.

Anyway. I also looked at It’s not exactly a search site. It’s more of a solution finder. I really don’t know how to describe it any better than that. I haven’t gotten very good at giving it queries it can work with – I supposed it’s an acquired skill. But the sample queries they detail on their search page are pretty cool. I plan to get some use out of it in the future. The Wolfram people are behind the excellent Mathematica software, so there’s probably a good chance they’ll improve with time.

Speaking of the bumblers over at Microsoft, I discovered last night that they have surreptitiously installed a Firefox add-on on PCs that allows websites to install applications onto your machine without your knowledge. This is done for your convenience and in response to intense consumer demand, of course. Oh, and you can’t uninstall it. Well, there’s been enough outcry that if you look really hard, you can find a well-hidden Microsoft patch you can install by hand that will allow you to uninstall the stupid add-on. I did it on my machines, of course. How typical of the bumblers at Microsoft to install add-ons to Firefox without your knowledge or permission. If they thought so many people would really want it, maybe they would have told us they were installing it, hmm?

Anyway. We do have some food violence news: Stay away from prosecutors. At least the Florida ones.

Lots of things left on tonight’s schedule. See you tomorrow.

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