Google Password Manager

I switched to using Google Password Manager today, changing the most 100 out of 600 passwords to be random strings of characters. I also use Authy, a great Mult-factor authentication tool, on the most important sites. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe I’ll upgrade to Lastpass or similar soon.

Bay Area Children’s Theatre Closed!

After 19 years of amazing shows and dedication to kids, I am crestfallen to report that The Bay Area Children’s Theatre has closed its doors last week.

I’m terribly saddened. Our family attended several really terrific shows and events of theirs over the past several years. It is a really great institution!

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Frog and Toad (5 times, if I recall correctly! Four times before COVID and once after)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama
  • A fun open house event in Walnut Creek

Contra Costa County Fair

Megan, Abigail and I went to the Contra Costa County Fair this weekend. Abigail’s first county fair was a blast! See the vid…

How to Convert a Mediawiki wiki and WordPress Blog to Static Sites

I recently converted the OrbSWARM Blog and Mediawiki to static websites. Here is how I did it.

Download the entire wiki, minus the “Special” pages and “Help” pages

wget -k -p -r -R ‘*Special*’ -R ‘*Help*’ -E

-k –convert links – edit each page so the links on it link to the new static site instead of a website
-p –page-requisites – fetch all the support files too, like .css and javascript
-r –recursive – download the whole site, not just one file
-R –reject – don’t download pages with these names in them
-E –adjust-extension – make all files end in “.html”

Download the entire WordPress blog

wget -k -p -r -E

Then just upload all those files to a web server!

OrbSWARM Project Mothballed

In 2007, Michael Prados, Jon Foote, and I co-organized the OrbSWARM art project along with 25 amazing mechatronic artists, it was a blast!

The project was active from 2007 to 2012 but the orbs are still out there, rolling somewhere! I just reorganized all the content: turned the wiki and blog into static sites, put all the sound files into one neat pile, and such.

Find the project at

How To Install and Adjust an AOC I1659FWUX 15.6″ USB-powered portable monitor on Windows and Mac

I’ve got some portable monitors: AOC I1659FWUX 15.6″ USB-powered portable monitor

The image quality of the monitor is pretty good (update 5-17-23: my new Macbook Pro screen is much more crisp than the AOC screens!), though you can’t adjust the colors.
In Windows, you can adjust the brightness with the open source software ScreenBright or my favorite ClickMonitorDDC 6.0 or some others. :-) You can’t directly change the brightness or colors in Windows 10 or 11.

To get it to work on my Macbook Pro 2019 16″, I needed to install a driver. Without it, when I plugged it in, the startup screen would flash for a moment and then nothing.
– Go to which is the former Download and install the driver
– plug it in and go! I’m using an Anker USB C Hub to convert the USB-A on the monitor to USB-C

To be able to adjust the brightness, I went to the Apple App Store and got the free and open source MonitorControl Lite.

Got a Macbook Pro 2019 16″, Happy With It

After 31 years of Windowsness, I’m I am officially a Macadoodle! I just got a Macbook Pro 2019 16″. I wanted a machine that I could happily listen to music and watch TV on (a great screen and sound) in addition to being portable. And I was kind of fed up with my long hunt for a new Windows Laptop:

  • Lenovo Yoga 7i – I bought it but returned it because it sounds like everyone is talking through a paper towel tube!
  • Lenovo Yoga 9i – It is a very safe prediction that the OLED screen will look terrible in a year or three. The demo models at Best Buy were already showing their age
  • HP 17-cn2063cl I bought it from Costco sounds quiet and tinny and when I run too many Chrome windows, or open 1 Windows Explorer window on the wrong folder, it lags which it totally unacceptable for a new computer with so much processing power!
  • LG Gram 17″though super sleek at like 2.9lbs with a beautiful screen, sounds quiet and tinny.
  • The MSI gaming laptop at Costco also sounded like crap, despite weighing a shoulder wrenching 7.5 lbs. I guess they put all their effort into the graphics card and zillion rainbow color changing LED lights on the keyboard and case.
  • Macbook Air, at 13″, it’s just too petite for my eyes.
  • HP Envy 17″, a fine contender. I had used an HP Envy 15″ for my last job and it did well. The speakers were a little weak but certainly “acceptable”.
  • Dell XPS 17″ probably excellent but a spendy $2,500-$4,000.

The notion of getting a machine that “just works”, really excited me. In recent years, Windows has changed so much that it’s not like I can fix any problem without googling for it. And Windows is this cranky hodge-podge of legacy systems and new. When Windows got rid of uncombined taskbar icons last year, I was so pissed. I started using an open source tool that rolled back the interface to something more usable. But you know that at some point it’s going to stop working. I’m starting to appreciate Apple’s attitude of stopping support on old machines and jumping to new technology every so often.

I couldn’t conscience getting a new Macbook for $2500+ so I spent $950 all in on a used one on 1TB SSD, 16 Gig of RAM, a beautiful screen and sound, the slick Macbook Pro Touchbar…

Set up was quite pleasant, video sounds and looks fabulous (OMG, Youtube videos are defaulting to play in 4k! (sucking up 20mbps, but hey)), and migration has so far gone very well! I got my second monitor set up easily enough (needed DisplayLink and MonitorControl Lite from the App Store but it took 10 minutes. I’m writing this while listening to the best sounding music I’ve ever had on a computer. Yes, it “just works” and I like it.

Every 10 years or so I check the website to see if I have any lost money. If a company owes you money but can’t find you for whatever reason, it ends up there. Yes, it’s legit. :-)

This time I found several small piles of money and a few large ($500-$1000) ones related to family! I spend the afternoon filling out forms and should get some cash in a few months. Take a look for yourself!



How to Send Email Message Headers and Source to a Friend

If you were asked to send the full contents of an email (AKA the source or the original contents) to someone, this is how you’d do it in Gmail.

Long Stupid Passwords

OMG, seriously?

Passwords must be between 16 and 26 characters and contain at least: one uppercase (‘A’-‘Z’), one lowercase (‘a’-‘z’), one digit (‘0’-‘9’), and one special character (e.g. $,\&.#!)

Found at California Unclaimed Property Division