Hunting at the Beach

It seems like an odd game. Galena runs around, down below on the beach, squealing in joy like only little girls can. She keeps tripping and falling in the sand because she refuses to look in front of her, staring up in the sky at the sea gulls floating above her. I don't think she actually knows what the game is, if it's to be under the gull when it comes down or to be anywhere but under the gull when it comes down.

I flip the switch as the gulls lateral movement relative to my little setup up on the bluff comes to a momentary standstill in the ocean wind. The grainy picture on the beatup laptop is hard to see in the bright California sun, but it doesn't really matter. The script watches the image coming in from the webcam, duct taped to a C-stand. As the gull moves in its view the script tells the reappropriated old Brother inkjet printer stepper motors to turn one way or the other, aiming the laser pointer by minute movements, at the gull. You can actually see the dim green dot on the gull in the image on the screen. The switch contacts close and the image on the screen goes white as the coffee can sized car audio capacitor drops into the circuit. This is when Galena's giddy silliness goes into overdrive as the gull, now with a small half centimeter wide hole burnt through it's skull, sails towards the ground, leaving behind a small puff of black smoke high in the air. She runs away squealing with glee, then runs back once the gulls body hits the sand to collect it and take it over to the cooler sitting next to her mom, sunning herself in her purple bikini.

I open the switch and reconnect the big shiny blue cap to the solar panels laying around my picnic blanket. I remember when I found this capacitor. It was out in Pacheco; I was coming back from Graybar. Nothing reminds you of how much the world has changed as walking through a deserted Graybar with a Remington Model 870 strapped to your back. I've still got most of the solder and the breadboards I looted that day, now 2 years later. I'm riding my bicycle back from Graybar and I see this lowered Honda Accura that's crashed into a pylon holding up state route 4. The owner was long gone but a very nice stereo system was intact. I threw the amp and the big capacitor into my dirty bicycle trailer and rode home.

We've got six gulls in the cooler at this point which is probably good. It's like a modern day Fulmar hunt like they used to do in the Faroe Islands, except using a laser pointer instead of a net.

(Written Jan 23, 2015)

Marine Technology


This morning was very foggy. In my daily ferry trip to work I learned a little about marine technology. I had assumed that, here in the 21st century, ships, like the ferry I ride to work, used some combination of high resolution GPS, radar, and maybe radio telemetry triangulation to identify where the ship was and where everything else in the bay was (other ships, the bridge pylons, etc.) I found out this morning that this must not be the case. As we trucked along, at a pretty good clip, across the bay with zero visibility of any kind, all of a sudden, the engines go from about 3/4 of full thrust to zero thrust. The whole boat lunges forward as we rapidly decelerate (due to water resistance) and out of the pea soup appears the massive bay bridge center anchorage dead ahead. The captain turns the boat sharply to the left and we swing around it and accelerate again. I'm glad our captain has good reflexes.

Later, upon landing and walking to work, the entire embarcadero was echoing with different ships fog horns being blasted.

It turns out that the two methods employed these days to deal with fog are slamming on the brakes if you see something ahead of you and making a ton of noise in hopes that someone else out there hears you and doesn't crash into you. I thought we were living in the future, what happened?

Origin of Cementhorizon

In 1999 the internet landscape was very different from what it is today. In the absence of free services for things like weblog hosting, photo hosting, group collaboration, etc. Google had started the year before and was at the time merely a search engine (one the blew yahoo and altavista out of the water, but still a search engine).

It was in this environment that I envisioned a website to try to keep this community of people (my friends and theirs) in contact despite physical separation as people moved away to colleges and other towns. I happened upon the site design that I made in 1999 (before implementing it a couple years later) and thought I'd put it up here. At the time there was no cementhorizon and the provisional name was "Tree Group" because that was the name of the group of people in high school (we all hung out at lunch around a specific tree). These are just notes laying out ideas for what would go on the site and how it would work.

Tree Group Conceptual Layout

POP and Web Based Access to Email Addresses


Hosted Web pages

  • or (with
    FrontPage server Extensions)


Monthly Newsletter

  • Note from me
  • updated What's Up pages
  • upcoming Calendar Events
  • For Sale Listings
  • Movie/Book Reviews



  • User Database (#201)

    • username [INDEX VALUE]
    • password
  • Group Database (#202)

    • Global Group number [INDEX VALUE]
    • Owner's Username
    • 0 : unmasked [set owner to nobody]
    • 1 : masked (from everyone) [set owner to nobody]
    • 2 : group mask (group 1001)
    • 3 : group mask (group 1002)
    • etc.
    • group 1 is the first group saved by any user
    • Groups from group mask consist
      of list of unchecked (masked) usernames
    • Groups from the photo gallery consist of the
      members in the photo
    • groups 100-1000 are single user groups (e.g.
      group101 : gwood / group 102 : dsmall / etc)
    • Multi-User groups begin at 1000
  • Contact Database (#203)

    • Each Field has and associated mask value from Group
      Database (#202)
    • UserName [INDEX VALUE]
    • First Name
    • Middle Name
    • Last Name
    • Home Phone
    • Parents Phone
    • Home Address
    • Parents Address
    • Work Phone
    • Work Address
    • Secondary Phone Number
    • Tertiary Phone Number
    • Primary email address
    • Secondary Email address
    • Tertiary Email Address
    • ICQ Number
    • AOL IM ID
    • Yahoo Messnenger/Pager ID
    • Pager Number
    • Cell Number
    • Other Wireless Number
    • College Name
    • Homepage
    • What's Up Text
    • PGP Key
    • Default Prefered Address Book Format
    • Default number of Thumbnails per Page
  • Event Database (#204)

    • Event ID# [INDEX VALUE]
    • Event Title
    • Begin Date
    • Begin Time
    • End Date
    • End Time
    • Owner UserName
    • Description
    • Post it in the Newsletter? [True/False]
    • Mask Value (Who's Invited)
  • Photo Gallery Database (#205)

    • Photo ID# [INDEX VALUE]
    • Owner username
    • Date
    • Date Accuracy [True/False] (True : Accurate /
      False : Guess)
    • People in the picutre as a Group ID# from Group
      Database #202
    • Total Number of Ratings Votes
    • Total Value of all Ratings Votes
  • Discussion Group Database (#206)


Web Site Universal Pages


Event Description Page (#100)

  • Event Title
  • Begin Date/Time
  • End Date/Time
  • All Events (Listed By Title and Linked to Each Event
    Description Page (#100)
    ) on the same day as Begin and
  • Event Owner (Linked to mailto:)
  • Event Description

Create Virtual Group (#101)

  • Every Member Listed In a List
  • CheckBox Next to each Name
  • For mask group default is everyone
    checked (checked means you can see the information and
    are considred unmasked)
  • For derivitave of mask group photo
    gallery member search : default is everyone is unchecked
    (checked means that you will have to be in the picture to
    return a hit)
  • Save Virtual Group [give it a name and it's saved,
    associated with the user that created it]
  • Clearly stated privacy information so that the user knows
    that only he/she will see/have access to the saved mask

Date Description Page (#102)

  • List of all events Beginning or ending on the date [each
    one linked to Event Description Page (#100)]
  • This day in history link

User Page (#103)

  • Homepage
  • Contact Info [phone,email,icq,etc]
  • link to search photo gallery for user as member
  • link to search photo gallery for user as owner
  • link to mailto: for all email addresses + wireless pager
    email address + ICQ pager email
  • current picture
  • what's up text
  • user owned Schedule Events
  • ICQ online/offline graphic

Schedule : Events

  • Event - Post in the Newsletter?
  • User events - Variable
  • Group events - Variable
  • This Day In History - No
  • Concerts - No
  • Holidays - No
  • Solctices - Yes
  • Sunset / Sunrise - No
  • Art Exhibits - No

Mission Statement (#104)

  • To provide a means by which everyone can have the ability
    to stay in contact with those that they wish to at the
    same time limiting contact to those they wish to avoid
  • To enrich the members lives by providing event
    information for gatherings, concert information, birthday
    notification etc.
  • To provide easy access to information concerning means of
    staying in contact, including long distance companies,
    calling cards, cheap flights/transportation, etc.
  • To provide a location to call home on the web by
    providing free web site space, and free email accounts
  • To provide access to pertinent information concerning
    members protection of thier privacy and anonymity on the
    internet through introduction to personal encryption
    technology, anonymous remailers, and masking firewalls.
  • To provide a clearinghouse for group related pictures so
    that everyone can have access to a giant photo album

Meta Tag Mirror Index Pages (#105)

  • Multiple ancillary main pages containing Meta Tags filled
    with the members names that auto refresh/redirects to the
    main page
  • Members Names formated as John Doe / Doe, John / J. Doe /
    John Middle Doe / J. M. Doe / etc.


Display Page (#106)

  • Image
  • Rating 1..10 radio buttons
  • Email Owner link
  • Members
  • Date of Picture + Date accuracy
  • Event Name [linked to Event Description Page if
    the event exists

Web Site Public Hierarchy

  • Mission Statement (#104)
  • Meta Tag Mirror Index Pages (#105)
  • Public News [pertaining to web site business]
  • List of hosted web pages
  • Request for admission form (voted on by current members)
  • Link to Members Area
  • Hosted Web pages [ or] (with FrontPage server Extensions)

    • How to build a homepage, links to help and
  • Portal Search Fields [yahoo, excite, lycos]
  • Keeping In Contact
    • Long Distance Carrier's Cost comparison, how to
      save money
    • Calling Card cost comparison
    • Airling Ticket advise, how to book, special price
      email listservs
    • Amtrak costs
    • Bus costs
  • Description How to set the Tree Group Web Site as your
    browsers default HomePage
  • Public Key Encryption Information
    • What it is
    • Why to use it
    • How to use it
  • ICQ Information
    • What it is
    • Where to get it
  • For Sale Listings (classifieds for crap)
  • Incest Court ?????? (Members Area?)
  • Spy Stories
  • Movie Reviews
  • Book Reviews
  • Sunset / Sunrise Data
  • Cool Links Page
    • Yahoo Cool Picks
    • Slashdot sites
    • Other Cool Listing compilations
    • webmuseum
    • propoganda / mirrored in BMP format for windows
  • Recipes
  • Voting Questions

Web Site Members Area Hierarchy

  1. User Database Personal Settings [default [mask/unmask/mask
    ] setting is unmask]

    • Email Address
      • Linked to
    • Primary Phone Number [mask/unmask/mask
    • Parents Phone Number [mask/unmask/mask
    • Primary Address [mask/unmask/mask group]
    • Parents Address [mask/unmask/mask group]
    • Current College Name
    • ICQ Number [mask/unmask/mask group]
      • Linked to ICQ Personal Communication
    • AOL Instant Messenger ID [mask/unmask/mask
    • Yahoo Pager/Messenger ID [mask/unmask/mask
    • Current Picture
      • Linked to Gallery Search on Self
    • Secondary Email Address
      • Linked to
    • Pager Number [mask/unmask/mask group]
    • Pager Email Address [mask/unmask/mask
    • Cell Phone Number [mask/unmask/mask group]
    • Birthday [data placed in Shedule Database]
    • Schedule Page
      • Listing of upcoming events that you
        control [leaving school / returning to
        school / BBQ your setting up / your
        birthday / etc]

        • Each Event is linked to Event
          Description Page (#100)
      • 8 Fields for School Schedule
        • Drop Down Box [Go back to school
          / Leave School]
        • Date
      • Personal Events
        • Begin Date / Time
        • End Date / Time
        • Radio button description
          [Birthday, Anniversary, other
          (fill in field)]
      • Group Events
        • Begin Date / Time
        • End Date / Time
        • Description [BBQ, movie etc.]
        • Notify [No / Whole Group / Mask
        • If [Whole Group] or [Mask
          ] Then Notification
          Design (Directions, Time, What to
          bring, etc.)
        • If [Mask Group]
          Then Goto Create Virtual Group
          Check box selection of
    • What's Up [Current wrap-up of what is going on in
      your life]

      • classes
      • signifiant others
      • religious epiphanies
      • piercings
      • current musical tastes
      • current plans for school, job, love, life
      • Date of most recent update
    • PGP Key
    • Homepage [link to homepage]
    • Link to Audio file for addition to email program
      ["You've got mail", "I just sent
      you an email, Bizo"]
  2. User Database View List
    • Default Category Display
    • Check Box selection of columns to display
    • Pull down menu of common display settings
      • everything [all fields]
      • phone numbers [fields with phone numbers
        in them]
      • snail mail [Physical Addresses]
      • internet pressence [email addresses,
        homepages, ICQ etc]
    • Title of each column linked to sort by catagory
    • Search for Text in Field/Fields
    • Listing [for Masked Entries Leave Blank]
      • Name [Linked to User Page (#103)]
      • Email Address [Linked to]
      • Phone Number
      • Address
      • Parents Phone Number
      • Parents Address
      • ICQ Number [linked to ICQ Personal
        Communication Page]
      • AOL IM ID
      • Yahoo Pager/Messenger ID
  3. User Database Download Address Book
    • radio box / submit selection of format [Netscape
      1.x/Netscape 2.x/Outlook 95/WAB/etc.]
    • Link to form for requesting a new file format
  4. Photo Gallery [Database FileName / PictureOwner /

    • Top 10/25/50 Pictures based on Ratings from Display
      Page (#106)
    • Search by Members
      • And / Or
      • Check Box Member Selection (Derivitive of
        Create Virtual Group (#101) for mask
    • Thumbnails per Page [Number]
    • ThumbNail linked to Display Page (#106),
      Under thumnail is Source that is
      linked to the image file (for download) and the
      file size [eg Source 148kb]
    • Information On submission howto
      • Specs for scanning images (resolution,
        color, etc)
      • How to mail them to me to scan for you
  5. Web Based Email Send / Recieve []
  6. Discussion Group
    • Read Discussion Group
    • Create New Thread
    • Post to Discussion Group
  7. Current Calendar
    • Generate Calendar from Database
    • Current Months Calendar
      • Layout in Basic Calendar fasion 7X4
      • Number 1-30 in each box links to Date
        Description Page (#102)
        verbose listing of that dates events
      • Each Day Containing Title of Event Linked
        to Schedule Event Description Page
      • For Days containing more that displayable
        [more...] which links to Date
        Description Page (#102)
      • Each Event contains Begin Date/Time and
        End Date/Time ,

        • If Event has Different Begin/End
          Dates it is displayed twice, once
          on the beginning date and once on
          the end
        • If Event has same Begin and End,
          it is listed once on that Date
        • Specific Begin End Date Time is
          contained on the Event
          Description Page (#100)
  8. Security Description and Privacy Information
Written By Eugene Wood
Date : Aug 9 1999