Thursday, July 26, 2012

Searching and Analyzing: Google Search and Wolfram|Alpha Pro

Recently, quite a convergence of searching/analytical tools:

  1. First, Google has posted the powersearching course materials here .  I worked my way through about 80% of the course, before it was over.  I will be continuing.  In particular, the image search capabilities transcend my expectations.   
  2. In a digest of Gentoo linux related blogs (at, one discovers a veritable Easter egg---a blog post about what appears to be a new tool for analysis and searching.  This is at least a backup plan, to Google Search.  Find a discussion of "Wolfram|Alpha Pro at this site .

Reviving Meandering Eclectic

Be it self-conceited, or not, this is the closest thing I have---except for the Wordpress blog "" I have posted to from time to time---to a general, catchall blog, albeit with a Natural History bias.  Maybe it's time to revive my blogging self.  So.....   heregoes... 

Monday, February 8, 2010


Have been spending a lot of time playing guitar, and searching the WWW about guitars and related instruments. This blog concerns our guitar adventures. Fe has been learning to play the guitar. She has always had a passion for the instrument, and it's great to see here dig in. We are studying with Ryan at Keynotes School of Music on Saipan, where William studies piano.

In my on line explorations, many resources are found.

We ordered three instruments recently from Musician's Friend: a violin for William, a Yamaha digital piano, also for William, and a Taylor 214 for me. William has been studying the piano, but the Violin has always been his passion. The only thing he wanted from Santa Claus was a violin, so we decided to help Santa out.

Cousin Mike's advice was really helpful with the choice of a guitar, but it was painfully obvious I will never get that great solid wood guitar, most likely ever... And I could not possibly heed his advice (and the advice I have seen elsewhere) that the decision to buy a guitar depends on a gut feeling, while playing the instrument. Here on Saipan, there is one music store; It had to be Musician's Friend, where Mike bought the Little Martin he gave me three years ago. It was going to be a crap shoot from the beginning.

The Internet has played a singular place in my life, here in the Western Pacific, where there have never been good libraries, and where one either pays through the nose for almost everything, locally, or orders online. Scientific literature is still a constant, nagging, issue, but younger researchers seem to be making more of the recent publications available as pdfs, and the scientific community begins to see real value in letting knowledge be free..

But WWW commerce is not as automatically interesting out here in the borderlands. I can't remember the time I've ordered online without SOMETHING going wrong. Sure, it's gotten better over the years, as vendors begin to recognize the Saipan isn't a chinese dish, that there is a US Zip Code here, and the postage is domestic. So many things can---and do---go wrong, though: shipping is the worst of the problems, after American geographic provincialism.

Having started these searches a couple of months ago, and having ordered in early January, it is frustrating that out of 4 boxes, not a single one has arrived yet, almost 1/3 of the way into February. The mail is crazy on Saipan, but Musician's Friend's shipping practices left us in the lurch. All of these orders were made with the understanding that the packages would come by Priority Mail. Yet, the Guitar and the Digital Piano were verified as having shipped by 4th Class Parcel Post. The US Postal Service web site only lists 4th class MEDIA MAIL. I couldn't find any other mention. None of the packages, including two that were verified as having shipped by Priority Mail, has a tracking number. Musician's Friend has apparently tired of my extensive emails, and has started shunting me to the FAQ section. They did tell me that changes may be in the works for their shipping policies "overseas." I hope so. For now, we face a potential three months (or longer) wait before we'll even know for sure, if something went wrong.

While we tread water, waiting for these shipments, I have uncovered a bunch of online resources about guitars and related instruments. I'll blog some of them. Would make a nice old-fashioned web page of links. Might as well do it now, 'cause once these instruments arrive we'll all have less time on our hands...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Check out the Macro photos

On another blog, I posted macro photos today, a work in progress.

Blog for Everything Else

This is my blog for various pet projects.