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What Is That? Marine Pollution

I live on a boat in Seattle, just inside the Ballard Locks and across the channel from Fisherman’s Terminal. It is common around here to hear someone exclaim “What IS that?” and the answer can range from a heron to a beaver to the Alaska ferry from Juneau to Sitka pulling in for service. Saturday’s query was totally different. Fisherman's Terminal hydraulic spill

We awoke to a disgusting coating of what looked like mud (or worse) surrounding all the boats on the opposite side of the dock. Our slip was shining with something oily that threw rainbows. After our neighbor called and reported the mess to the Coast Guard, he was told a large boat at Fisherman’s Terminal blew a hydraulic line and they would send an environmental team. The environmental team used bags and bags of sheets that soak up oil and apparently hydraulic fluid. All areas filled with the disgusting brown mess were treated. Our side, with the oily sheen, was not. The Coast Guard also dispatched an air team to get a visual of the spread of the pollution.  (more…)

Why me?


A very long time ago I visited a psychic. I was an electrical engineering student and a skeptic; naturally when he asked me what I did for a living I told him I was a flight attendant. He looked at me quizzically, turning his head sideways like my dog does. “Are you sure?” he asked. I affirmed my story and that look returned to his face. “You should think about being in computers,” he said, shaking his head confusedly. “’Cause that’s what I see.”

It was the beginning of the personal computer; I moved from the IBM 360 on campus to a Sol and then an ALTOS. I was manufacturing S100 bus industrial computers in my basement for my dad’s latest invention, a computer-controlled marking machine for fruit packing plants. I moved on to assemble computers for a company that wrote and bundled software for law firms.

A great gig with CBS Records at the plant in Carrollton, GA, let me play with lots of computers – every department had multiple computers, even though we called them ‘industrial processors’ to make sure to keep the MIS department out of the purchasing loop. Even the injection molding machines were run by computer, the molds carved with the help of the PDP-11. What fun!

The world caught up, and everyone can have computer fun now. (Thank you Public Libraries!)I would like to use my experience to enhance yours.

Most people could be doing a lot to make their computers easier to use, and to help their machines work faster and more reliably. This blog is dedicated to each person that wants to (as AMX used to say) Take Control! of their computer to make a more personal,powerful and reliable tool.