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Introducing the Tech Deck blog

Welcome to the Spokesman-Review's new Tech Deck blog, where we discuss all sorts of different nerdy things, with an Inland NW slant. As one of the online developers for spokesman.com, I fortunately/unfortunately cannot escape the moniker, so I might as well represent.

One goal of this blog is to live up to the awesomeness that is this Spokesman-Review commemorative coin from 1981 that I found at an antique store:

rad spokesman coin with a deathstar

First of all, Death Star. Second…

There's a DEATH STAR on the 1981 commemorative Spokesman-Review coin. That is all.

In case you were wondering, here are a few of the subjects that I plan on covering in the near future:

  • SteamOS - Awesome or not?
  • Building the ultimate gamer's box
  • 3D printing and the local maker scene
  • Cool stuff you can do with Arduinos
  • Minecraft for moms and pops who have no clue what Minecraft is
  • The science behind Kinect

That's just what I have written down on my notepad here, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, please comment below or send me an email at dang@spokesman.com.

There's one more thing™: Let's make sure we're all on the same page with regards to the term "nerd":

Pull up a seat

There is nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends.

Whether around the table, the campfire or the snack table at work, food has a wonderful way of drawing people together. We hope this blog will be a bit like that.

One of the great joys of my job is that people share their cooking triumphs and failures. They stop me to talk about their dinner at local restaurants; they share tips for great bargain wines and they ask about an unfamiliar ingredient. At the office, we often find ourselves swapping notes on fallen quick breads, our favorite new IPA or a restaurant we've discovered (or rediscovered). We inevitably learn something new.

It's been fun trying new techniques and being reminded of old favorites. Now, we're ready to share that conversation with you.

So, I've invited a group fellow food lovers at The Spokesman-Review  to join me here at Too Many Cooks. The team includes Gina Boysun, an online developer for spokesman.com; Ruth Reynolds, a copy editor who looks at those weekly Food sections behind the scenes; and Carolyn Lamberson, an assistant city editor, who has written occasional food stories. We'll share inspirations, frustrations and discoveries from our corners of the food world.

We worried a bit that writing a group blog about food might be akin to that old adage that leads to dinner spoiled. Instead, we expect it to have the opposite effect. We hope that Too Many Cooks will become a place for readers to find something new and share their experience, too.

Join us.

A brand new South Perry

Well, almost. The Street Department is putting a new layer of asphalt on South Perry Street - they should be done by tomorrow, but Northbound Perry is closed roughly between 14th Avenue and Ninth Avenue.
All businesses are open - and the blog is at The Perry Street Cafe this morning until 9 or 9:30ish…
Stop by and say hello.

The blog is taking a few days off

The holidays have made the blog coverage a little hit and miss this past week, and now the blog is taking a few days off. It will be back in swing on Monday Jan. 3 - so keep the e-mails coming. Send them to piah@spokesman.com

Happy new year to all of you - I'll see you in 2011.

Happy New Year

The blog has a few days off here toward the end of the year, but it will return in full force on Monday Jan. 3. Remember to send the blog a note with neighborhood news to piah@spokesman.com

And once we get started on the new year, the blog would like to visit with a few other groups, non-profits and organizations in Hillyard - no offense to the Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee that so gracefully has helped the blog getting started. E-mail a pitch - see you all in 2011.

A note of thanks…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

I received this note from its author, Linda Radford, and am posting it with her permission. It is both a heart-warming and thought-provoking message for us all.

A Note of Thanks To A Great City

By Linda Radford

Spokane is a great city! This is my fifth winter here and each year I love it more than the last. When my kids and I first moved up here I was told that we get snow here, but not too much. Enough to make winters fun, but usually it’s not too bad, and the first winter we were here seemed to confirm that. Then the next two winters arrived, back to back, and I realized that maybe it does snow here more than I’d thought. As a native Californian I found this to be both exciting and challenging.

Well, a couple of weeks ago we got our first snowstorm of the season. To me there is nothing more beautiful than the snow that blankets this city. Things seem tranquil and quiet and everything just glistens. I work for the county road department and know that this is just an illusion—there is nothing truly tranquil and quiet about the snow. It causes chaos and frustration. But what I’ve come to love is that as the physical beauty of the snow begins to fade, the real beauty of this city begins to show—and by that I mean the people. In the last 2 weeks I have been stuck with my car three different times in three different places. Each time absolute strangers came to help get me unstuck. The first time was only a few blocks from my house in a neighborhood at 6:30 in the morning! 2 men saw me and my son trying to get the car out of slush and they just came with their shovels and the four of us got the car going again. The next time was in the Rogers High School parking lot. My son was already inside the building and I couldn’t pull away from the curb. Two boys that were outside came over and gave me both valuable advice and valuable pushing (it turns out that floor mats can be used for traction when stuck—good to know!). Just as we were thinking that we couldn’t get the car out, a third boy came and joined the pushing party and I was on my way to work in no time. And finally, today. If it hadn’t been for a bank of snow along the curb I would have slid right into a stop sign, so for that I’m grateful. But in the end, I couldn’t get my car out by myself! My son-in-law, along with a stranger that was driving by and saw us stuck, got my car out. This stranger was cheerful and willing and a perfect example of what I’ve come to know and love about Spokane.

Back from Las Vegas

So the blog has been getting around quite a bit lately. I just returned from three days at a journalism convention in Las Vegas. The convention was put on by the Society of Professional Journalists. Yes, I did have some fun, but more importantly I participated in about four workshops every day and almost all of them were about social media (like Facebook and Twitter), blogging and multi-platform journalism (combining writing and video for instance).
So now I’m curious: how do you use the Internet? What are your favorite sites? What’s your Internet routine like - are there certain sites you check every day, like news, weather, shopping or hobby related sites?
Do you use Twitter?
Which one is your favorite search engine and why?

Sorry for the light coverage

Spin Control went on an unexpected hiatus over the last weekend because I was out of town and the laptop program that allows the VPN to connect up with the Spokane mainframe stopped working on me.

Or something like that. It was a computer thing.

As Shakespeare said, “To err is human. To get really messed up, you need a computer.”

But we’re back.

Thursday morning

I’ll be at the Perry Street Cafe Thursday morning from around 7 a.m. and probably until 9:30 a.m. I have a couple of interviews lined up, but feel free to stop by. I’d love to hear some fall news, like who’s planning a Halloween party?
I also continue to search for active Block Watch Groups in the South Perry Neighborhood - if you have one, come in and tell me what you’re doing.
As always you can e-mail me at piah@spokesman.com and I’ll post your message.

Even a blog needs a little time off

Hello neighbors - I have the next two weeks off and as much as I love doing this blog, I’m taking a vacation from that, too. While I’m gone, I’m handing the “big keys” to the blog to my good friend and colleague Lisa Leinberger - you can reach her at: lisal@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5449.

Don’t be shy - please e-mail Lisa or give her a call with blog news - she’ll be all over it. I’ll return on Sept. 27. Until then, I’m sure I’ll see you around the Perry District.


Please welcome Tony Kliment to the blog

Tony is the first person to officially hold “the keys” to the South Perry Blog - here is a bit about him in his own words:

“I have lived in Spokane for 15 years, mostly in and around the South Perry Street neighborhood. I truly believe that experiencing the people and businesses of a neighborhood is one of the best ways to build a strong community. I walk or ride through the neighborhood most every day, taking pictures, enjoying the good food and drink and meeting the people of our neighborhood. Writing for the South Perry Blog and posting photos will allow me to share all the good things I find with you. Aside from general comings and goings of the neighborhood, I’m also interested in history, social justice, sustainable businesses and healthy living. When I’m not writing for the South Perry Blog, I work as a mental therapist, artist and an advocate for youth through the Odyssey Youth Center and other organizations.”

You can e-mail Tony at perrysttony@gmail.com

Overview of Community Comment…

Good morning, Netizens…

Shannon Sullivan wrote:

“Dave, Shannon Sullivan here. I was just wondering why the blog has gotten away from the local issues? With the election coming up, where are we suppose to go for updates, comments?

I realize spin control has a lot, but I think that there needs to be a blog that focuses on what is going on here in our own community.

Any thoughts?”

Originally I was simply going to answer this series of questions in its own original thread, mostly because it was Sunday and I generally try to avoid writing original material for the Blog on Sundays as that is a day I’d like to spend more time with my loved ones and family. Then as yesterday wove onward, I found I ran out of free time, as sometimes is the case on Sundays. Thus, at my first rising, at 4:00 AM today, Monday morning, I decided to dedicate an answer to your question in its own thread and perhaps explain a bit about the command-level decisions I often am forced to make.

Brief History: When I was asked to start this Blog over three years ago, although I had some thinly-sketched ideas of what I wanted to do with it, I didn’t really begin to “flesh out” my ideas at first. I wrote what I felt like writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and when I felt motivated to comment on local issues, I did, from within my own perspective. Within some boundaries, I still write what I want, and although I sometimes spend less time on local issues than perhaps I might, one of my priorities, is that I always try to cover stories, regardless of their geographical or geopolitical content, that are not being covered by any other Blogs in the Spokesman.

Failures: Among some of the failures I take upon my own responsibility are that I have not dedicated enough of my limited resources to cover what I term the local news media, itself. Mediocrity in journalism, either in print or televised news media, is no defense for a lackluster outcome, and at times our local television news media are deplorable in how they sometimes handle the news and weather forecasts.

I also assume responsibility for having introduced members of the Spokane Police Department to this blog head-on. Nobody else invited them to explain their actions; of course no one else withstood the vitriol and mashing that resulted on both sides. I failed miserably at my goal of encouraging open, honest dialog, and for that I will be judged, but it was an honest failure. In the words of my personal ad hoc consigliere who frequents this piece of cyberspace, upon occasion, I need an editor.

Once upon a time, in a different piece of the Internet in Usenet News, I started what became known as “Gatherings” which members of the general public were invited to attend. We had breakfasts together at the former Pancake House on Francis Avenue, picnics in the parks, even. Perhaps we need to re-institute this historical piece of the past, something along the lines of Dave Oliveria’s occasional Blogfest, which both Jeanie and I have attended. We still need to “put faces with the screen names” after all these years.

You state we have drifted away from the local issues. If so, it is because I simply run out of disposable time before I run out of things to say or topics to discuss before my “good day job” kicks in. You can always suggest ideas for things we can discuss, and if time permits, it will be added to the list. I encourage everyone to this: help make this Blog better at avoiding mediocrity.

I also hasten to point out that neither Jeanie nor I have ever received nor ask for a nickel of recompense for what we do, nor are we employees of the Spokesman-Review or the Cowles Publishing Company. We are simply two journalists who do the best we can to achieve balance in what we write and when we write it.


Time flies – let’s take it to the next level

When I posted the first blog post here on April 30, I wasn’t sure exactly how the blog would shape up or how frequently I’d be able to post – as I continue to write for the paper-newspaper as well – but things have worked out great.


I’ve heard from lots of readers and gotten to know many people in my little neighborhood. The South Perry Blog also has picked up a fan in Phoenix (hi Tom!) who took time to come in and chat with me one Thursday morning when he was in town. Of course the blog has gathered mostly local fans and Facebook friends – thanks to all of you for checking in and cyber linking and tweeting and all that – I couldn’t do it without you.


So now it’s time to take it to the next level: how would you like a key to the South Perry Blog?

I’m looking for a handful of people in the South Perry Neighborhood who would be interested in posting here on a regular basis. I know you are out there and I know you have opinions and dreams and plans for our neighborhood – if you’d like the opportunity post once or twice a week, send me a note at piah@spokesman.com or come in and meet with me on Thursday at The Shop, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.


A friend of this blog often laments that mainstream media isn’t stimulating a community conversation about important issues, trends and ideas – well, here’s your chance.


Of course there are guidelines to go over and all that – but drop me a line if you are at all interested – and live in the Perry neighborhood.

Blogging Thursday at Farmers’ Market

The blog is skipping the early morning rush on Thursday and showing up at the Farmers’ Market at 3 p.m. then moving on to The Lantern around 5ish.

Stop by and say hello.

Sis: Las Vegas Paper Suit Frightening

Re: Clayton Cramer shuts down blog over Las Vegas Review-Journal lawsuit/Huckleberries Online

Sisyphus: That’s pretty damn frightening and appears somewhat abusive. And its self defeating. People will refrain from using the source. Cramer actually sent them traffic. But this will have a horribly detrimental chilling effect on disseminating info on the tubes.

DFO: I agree with Sisyphus. Dunno what got under the saddle of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But it obviously doesn’t realize that Cramer was doing it a favor by driving traffic to its online Web site. Almost all the online papers and radio Web sites appreciate the links that Huckleberries provides as a result of the additional traffic. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is stuck in 20th century thinking and doesn’t understand the importance of blogs in the emerging media. Amazingly, the Review-Journal has won Freedom of the Press awards from the Nevada Press Association.

Blogging from The Shop

Tomorrow morning, the South Perry Blog will be at The Shop from 7-10 a.m. Feel free to come in and say hello. The blog is hoping to pull off a review of last weekend’s big party and a preview of the summer movies that start on Saturday.

Here are some Facebook responses to the reader question about whether the neighborhood is improving:

Barb Chamberlain: Yes, it’s really changing! Take some pix/video at the Thursday Farmers’ Market to demonstrate our vibe.

Jamie Adam Tabino: We are an up and coming neighborhood with affordable housing, a wonderful (growing) business district, a fantastic farmers market, a city park and an elementary school. The South Perry District is becoming a destination point – come and visit us.

What are your thoughts?


Thursday morning blog alert

The South Perry Blog is sleeping in this Thursday morning - you wont be able to find me out in the hood with coffee and my trusted laptop. No worries, it’s just this Thursday, I’ll be out and about again next week.

Don’t forget to visit the Farmers’ Market in The Shop’s parking lot Thursday from 3-7 p.m.

Show me your yard

This Thursday morning, The South Perry Blog will be at The Shop from 7-10 a.m. Expect an update on how the fair and parade planning is going and a visit with Odyssey Youth Center. The Fair and Parade is on July 17 - just a few weeks out.

The South Perry Farmers Market is open Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot at The Shop (924 S. Perry) - stop by now that it’s finally stopped raining.

The South Perry Blog is curious about gardeners and gardens - big or small, young or old, veggie or flower - show us what you are doing. Perhaps this is your first time growing vegetables? Perhaps the roses finally bloomed? Any bee keepers in the neighborhood? Shoot an e-mail to the blog at southperryblog@gmail.com



The sun is out…

It’s a beautiful sunny morning at the Perry Street Cafe - the blog will be here until 10 a.m. so come in and say hello. I still have a stack of free papers to give away; today’s paper has the Hoopfest section in it.

In other Perry news, The Lantern opens again today after a two week vacation - it sure will be nice to have them back.

And the Farmers’ Market is this afternoon from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot at The Shop - let’s hope they make it before the rain moves in. That would make it the first market day not drowning in rain.

Thursday morning blog alert

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be at the South Perry Cafe from 7-10 a.m. - as always I’ll have a stack of free newspapers to give away, and plenty of time to chat about the neighborhood.

Coming up is also an interview with South Perry neighborhood resource officer Dan Strassenberg, who shares some car prowling and burglary prevention tips.

Thursday morning at Interfaith Hospitality

This Thursday morning The South Perry Blog is visiting Interfaith Hospitality (608 S. Richard Allen Court, #5) from 7 to 10 a.m. - please come by and say hello. As always there’s a stack of free papers to be handed out and shared.

Interfaith Hospitality is a homeless shelter for children and their families and it’s been around since 1997. It’s the faith community’s response to the needs of homeless families. The organization is supported by 12 host congregations and 18 churches that provide meals and other services. Families are at the churches from 5:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. and then brought to the day center during the day. The ultimate goal is to find a permanent home for the family.

Also on the blog agenda tomorrow: are there any active neighborhood block watch folks on or around South Perry? Please let me know so I can share your work and contact information on the blog. Looking forward to meeting some South Perry neighbors tomorrow morning.

Thursday morning at Vanessa Behan

Today, I went blogging at South Perry Pizza at noon - lots of people there, and some really great pizza.

Thursday morning I’ll be at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, 1004 E. Eighth Avenue, from 7-10 a.m. That’s the first time I take the blog to a non-profit and I’m looking forward to trying that. There are many non-profit organizations in this neighborhood and I plan to visit with as many as I can.

Coming up: an introduction to this year’s Perry Street Farmer’s Market (first day on June 3) and a visit with the Blog Dog.

OK, this is madness…

All 31 of Washington’s Democratic state senators now have their own blogs.

JeanieSpokane Has Blast w/Cheap Gas

“I about danced a jig in the middle of the service station, in the freezing cold. Who cares!!!!” posts JeanieSpokane. “Gas was $1.49! I sat at the light by the station and saw the price and my tank was nearly empty and I jumped (in my seat) for joy! Who would think I would WANT to fill my gas tank! Woo Hoo! I think I’m going to frame my receipt! This is better than any heavily wished for Christmas present. This is even better than the yearly anticipated bonus check at work. This is a SCORE!”/JeanieSpokane, Nuts & Nonsense.

Question: Have you had the same reaction to low gas prices that JeanieSpokane did?

The Spovangelist: Spreading the good word of the city

Photobucket One of the best blogs in Spokane, The Spovangelist is constantly pushing us to try harder for the betterment of our city. It’s a wonderful resource for off the beaten path treasures, critical commentary, and innovative ideas that all form a lively dialogue about Spokane’s identity. In the most recent post, titled Festival Of Fair Trade, the author previews a local upcoming event with a challenging observation: “Why has familiarity with ‘Buy Organic’ outpaced the concept of ‘Buy Fair Trade’ in the minds of the average consumer? Maybe it’s because organics have been swept up in the current of American’s personal health craze, while the benefits of Fair Trade seem more remote and altruistic. Regardless, the more time you take to learn about the principles of Fair Trade, the more likely you are to seek out such products.” Awesome.