February 1, 2010

Weekly Blather Feb. 1, 1931

No Journal was published Sunday, Feb. 1, 1931. Just time for a brief blather this week. First, for those of you that missed them, a couple of interesting items this week.

From Jan. 31 - I'd recommend checking out the link – it's a pretty remarkable document, and I think would be way out of the mainstream today:
Italian govt. notifies Sec. of State Stimson that US apology for Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler's remarks about Premier Mussolini was satisfactory. [Note: Gen. Butler was also known as "The Fighting Quaker" and "Old Gimlet Eye"; he was a highly decorated Marine but also an outspoken critic of US military adventurism, and author in 1935 of the very strong polemic War is a Racket. The remarks apologized for were apparently some gossip about Mussolini striking a child with his car in a hit-and-run accident.]

And from Jan. 29 - really a pretty danceable tune:
Bill [Bojangles] Robinson is now appearing at the Palace. More than a tap dancer, he's an accomplished story teller and interacts freely with the audience, taking requests that the patrons in the balcony are never shy about making. This week, Mr. Robinson “repeats his stair-dance, gives an imitation of Pat Rooney, and performs an amusing dance to the ... currently popular 'Peanut Vendor' music.” Also appearing is Cardini, the magician. [Note: Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) was the first great Latin hit in the US, and launched the rumba craze. Over a million copies of the sheet music were sold, and it's been recorded over 160 times. Here's the 1930 recording that made it really take off, by Don Azpiazu and the Havana Casino Orchestra; this record also probably sold over a million copies. And, here's a little of it by Cary Grant (!) and Jean Arthur.]

And, on a completely unrelated topic, I want to recommend a time saver that might be of interest to those of you that, like me, work on several different computers and laptops from day to day and have trouble keeping your work files backed up and consistent everywhere. Not that it has anything to do with 1930, but I do really like it when a long-time annoyance finally gets solved. [Disclaimer: I have no connection with these people other than satisfied customer – it's helped me a lot with my efforts writing the blog and developing software]. I've previously tried a couple of solutions to this problem. External drives are a pain to carry around and use, even with automated software, and can cause problems if you screw something up. A network drive has problems with speed on larger files, and with a plan B if the server crashes or the network goes down, as tends to happen when you need your files most.

Solution at long last: Dropbox software - see information here. Briefly, you install their software on the computers you use, then have a folder (your dropbox) that you can use just like a regular one (edit files, move stuff around), but is kept synchronized among all your computers. Bingo - no problem if the network is down or with speed (the files are on your local drive, and their software just waits until you connect again to synchronize, which is done quietly in the background). Backup is continuous and totally effortless - within a few seconds of your changing something it's propagated to their servers and your other computers. The software is pretty smart about keeping the network usage low - i.e. if you change one byte of a 100MB file it only transmits the changed part. Also provides a web interface for getting your files from computers that you haven't installed their software on. Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone.

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