Additional Storm-related stuff…

Well now it’s snowing/raining/wind howling… and shortly I have to venture out. Wonder if the lights will be on when I return?

Jersey Central Power and Light outage map for New Jersey.

HART Traffic Alert (Hunterdon area)... when it works, it works well – when it works. Today (March 2) it’s working.

NJ 511 table of events: weather-related, “incidents,” detours. The map on this site is useless… don’t bother.



Too much water.

For this week, the flood watches are posted everywhere, as once again we face a deluge… this time with water levels running high, and the ground waterlogged. An inch or two of rain in a short time can cause a serious issue in the local area.

Of course this will happen on a Friday, with both high winds and rain extending into the evening… and on Friday evenings, I’m in a classroom with no windows to see what’s happening outside.┬áLuckily, the classroom building is on fairly high ground. In fact, the college is on comparatively high ground for the area. But it’s surrounded by rivers and creeks.

Over the years, the weather circus has become somewhat more adept at figuring out when we’re likely to have an excess of water. The area is permeated with stream level indicators, which generally update every 30 to 60 minutes (to several websites).

For this reference post, I’m linking to the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

Take the link and you’ll get to a map, with lots of little points marked. Circular points have more data than the others, and the color of the points will tell you if everything is fine (green), with yellow being the warning, red being serious danger and purple… you don’t want to be anywhere near a purple indicator. (In September 1999 the whole page was purple from the effects of Floyd).

For my purposes, I’m interested in a handful of points, starting with the Burnt Mills location. If this gets above 10 feet, I’m going to have to go home a different way. So the next one of interest is North Branch Village. If this goes over 10 feet, the next step is to head east on Rt 22, then up 202/206. Bleh.

For students headed home to the west, if the Whitehouse gauge gets over 6 feet, Rt 22 begins to flood west of CR 523 (near the old Merck hq).

Heading south to Hillsborough, southeast to Bound Brook, or via Manville and River Road (bad idea in a flood watch!), the gauges linked in this paragraph are the ones to monitor.

Note that several of these sites attempt to forecast how high the water will get – take this with a very large cup of salt (a grain is nowhere near enough!). Be sure to check the time of update – sometimes these gizmos fail, right when they’re most needed.

Wonder where I put the rain hat?


In praise of PagePlus X9

PagePlus X9 turns out to have sufficient functionality in layout design to replace InDesign CS3. (See the prior post “Migration” for why I have to change).

PagePlus is a product of Serif, a long-time competitor to Adobe. The Plus line of software is no longer in active development but licenses are still available – PagePlus is $25 from Serif directly, or a bit less in DVD form on Amazon.

Down the road a bit, the company expects to have a more full-featured layout package (Affinity Publisher)… but it’s been pushed back several times. I think the main development effort is in their Photoshop replacement software.

As to PagePlus, so far it’s worked fine for the four-to-eight page layouts I routinely need; shortly I’ll test it on a longer project.


[…tap… tap… is this thing on??]

It’s time to abandon the Adobe-sphere before it abandons me. In October 2017 Adobe decided to kill off the last vestiges of perpetual (non-subscription) licensing for Lightroom… and change the name to “Lightroom Classic.” And making things worse, somewhere in November a routine update broke functionality on my venerable InDesign CS3.

Historically, renaming software to “classic” has been the indicator of abandonment of same, and I expect that’s what Adobe has in mind, as the all-new-shiny Lightroom CC is all cloud-based and mobile and “fun” and made into lightweight eye-candy for the iPhone set.

Now of course I could go with the flow and pay the tribute, which for Lightroom/Photoshop is $10/month, but InDesign isn’t included and that would add another $20/month. Not happening, at least not with me.

I restored CS3 functionality by configuring a Windows 7 Virtual Machine and just installing the bare-bones stuff I need, but that’s a short-term patch, not a long-haul answer. So I’m now evaluating other publishing packages.

Lightroom is the big problem; I’ve been with the package since its first release and thus have a solid ten years’ work in creating a workflow, geotagging and keywording the 25,000+ photos in the master catalog. Right now, there’s nothing quite like LR out there, although there are promises.

Having played with some of the alternative RAW converter/editors, I’m waiting for the ON1 crowd to include digital asset management in their product. Hopefully that comes along soon.



End of an era…

The base of operations in North Carolina has been sold. I’ll still get down there, but it won’t be on the semi-regular basis that has been the rule for the past fifteen years.

In 2004, all the buildings were gray.
In 2004, all the buildings were gray.
But by 2015 new colors abounded, and the A building got a green cast with white trim.
But by 2015 new colors abounded, and the A building got a green cast with white trim.
I'll miss seeing Pedro on the move in the early morning...
I’ll miss seeing Pedro on the move in the early morning…
And I may never again see the Coast Guard running exercises with a C-130 and a fishing boat.
And I may never again see the Coast Guard running exercises with a C-130 and a fishing boat.
But in 2005 the Captain Phillips was busy most evenings catching shrimp...
But in 2005 the Captain Phillips was busy most evenings catching shrimp…
...and years later, the scene is still much the same.
…and years later, the scene is still much the same.

I’ll miss the place, sort of… but it will give me more flexibility to travel in the Old North State (and others).

All in all, it’s the end of an era.




Revising the photo website

Since March of 2005 I’ve had the photo collection on a service called SmugMug; accessible either as or

When I signed up all those years ago, the choice was hobbyist or professional; I took the professional choice, registered a domain, pointed it to the site, and started uploading photos. The fee was reasonable I thought for unlimited storage with video and commerce options. Prices have gone up a couple of times, but as an early-adopter I got something of a discount. And there it stood for quite some time.

A few weeks ago SmugMug decided that simply being a photo-hosting site wasn’t enough; they had to start bringing politics into the realm. As I can’t figure out how photos of old buildings, railroads, birds and landscapes create a political view I stay away from that, but it caused me to reevaluate the situation.

Running some comparisons, it is clear that for an advanced hobbyist with little need for ‘event-oriented commerce’ (aka wedding photography), while SmugMug continues as the best-available photo hosting service, I no longer need the extensive commerce features (most of my sales are either digital licensing or largish fine-art prints). So going forward, the photos will stay hosted on SmugMug, but the commerce fulfillment will move elsewhere. On an ongoing basis, it saves $140/year in hosting fees.