Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Wow, what a year. Lots of change and ups and downs and good and bad and...

Well, that's normal, huh?

Sorry I haven't posted lately. Been real busy working on the new Website, coming to a PC near you Real Soon Now.

I have lots to be thankful for, and I don't mean the toys that have come my way this fall. I'm thankful the snow melted so people don't kill themselves traveling to visit friends and family. I'm thankful the folks at the TV station have welcomed me with open arms and in true family fashion (read between the lines, folks;-)

And I'm thankful my brother Pete is still with us, despite some terrible health challenges. And I pray with all my heart he's here to yak about gadgets for many years to come.

And I wish all of you health and happiness in '06. It's not a novel wish, but it's heartfelt.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Eureka, I solved my OWN PC problem (for a change;-)

It's always a triumph when you find the source of a baffling PC problem all by yourself.

I'd noticed for a few days through the ZoneAlarm traffic icon that I was getting a lot of constant outbound traffic, ALL the time.

Uh-oh, I thought - the folks who go looking for free WiFi had started slurping my bandwidth by the megabit. I ran spyware programs - nothing. I ran Shields Up! from Steve Gibson - great lil program - and it said "hey, you are one STEALTHED PC!" Cool! So what was going on?

I have a Maxtor One-Touch external 100Gig hard drive that uses Dantz Retrospect HD backup software. That, too, was acting up - hanging and unable to show my restore points. I figured the two problems were connected somehow, but the first efforts to find stuff on either company's Website were fruitless.

Tonight, I tried squelching any nefarious WiFi users by trying the MAC filtering on my Linksys. Took some futzing - but nope, the traffic still was going hot and heavy, outbound only.

So I went back to the Maxtor Website and finally found answers to my questions - it appeared it was either .NET Framework 2.0 (an "optional" update I should have skipped - it's NOT the first time .NET Framework has given me grief over the years) or ZoneAlarm itself that was causing my grief.

I futzed with ZoneAlarm for a bit, but then uninstalled .NET Framework 2.0, which apparently restores it to 1.1 with hotfixes (since those also are in Add/Remove Programs). One reboot later, the external hard drive was just fine and I was seeing ZA in my task tray, not a solid green bar.

Basically, the Retrospect Express software uses .NET to communicate, over TCP/IP. So it got stalled on the newer version and was screaming at itself, or something like that.

I couldn't fix my own car if I had to. I leave back-breaking (oy, I've had pains there in recent weeks) jobs like a wonderful new paint job inside our home (and crown moulding!) to the pros (and pay what it's worth.) But once in a while, it's nice to solve my own tech problems, without even needing my brother Pete, the tech-wiz of the family, or my friends who were too busy to lend a hand.

I don't blame ZoneAlarm - in fact, it gave me a clue something was amiss. And Maxtor's site DID have the answer, once I really started looking for it.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks and giving

I'm sitting on my sofa, next to my brother Rick, watching an episode of "The Prisoner" I recorded off BBC America. Ah, what a great series, full of symbolism and allegory and hidden meanings.

Dinner was wonderful, as usual. My wonderful wife's a great cook.

This year has brought many challenges, and many blessings. Far be it for me to tally whether one topped the other. The coming year promises more of the same, Lord willing.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Speaking of great music...

My niece Jenn tonight turned me onto a young piano virtuoso named William Joseph. They heard him the other night when he opened for Clay Aiken at the start of his tour, in Portland. Beautiful stuff, do check it out!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Fine fall for albums

Any fall with new music from Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney can't be all bad.

But what do I know? I also loved Elton John's "Peachtree Road," out late last year, which didn't exactly set the singles chart ablaze. But I could live on those three artists' amazing music catalogs and never need another album.

Old fogey, I suppose;-)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Technolust Pt. 2 (laptop edition)

Ah, Websurfing from the comfort of my easy chair. Long dreamed, now realized, thanks to that home refinance (making possible a Linksys wi-fi router) and my brother Pete, who handed off a 5-year-old HP OmniBook 6000 that was gathering dust.

It got a bit tricky to swap out the router (instructions never presume you already have one - that'll change in the future, I presume) but I'm VERY impressed by the speed I'm getting with this "prehistoric" notebook (Pentium 3, "only" 256MB of memory, etc.) It shows to go ya - the upgrade we did to the new DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem and top-tier Bend Broadband service (4.5 mbps at least, for about $50/month) is FAR more important than the processor in terms of surfing enjoyment.

Even before I try it out at a Starbuck's or somesuch, I'm free! Untethered from the "computer room" at last. Big thanks to the bro, who faces the next step in his cancer battle this week, and is in a whole lotta folks' hopes and prayers.

I'm also again impressed with HP. I've always been a big fan of their printers, and now with the new MediaCenter PC (it's on the Nov. Computer Shopper cover - first time I've had a cover PC since my Tandy 1000 20 years ago!) with my awesome 19-inch flat screen, and this old but so nice OmniBook, I've deepened my respect and admiration for the company.

I've had a not-great reason to try out HP's tech support: the new PC's remote doesn't work. Without going into all the messy details, at least for now, I have found their online live-chat with techs very helpful, several times. Yep, for now, I've gotta say; HP stands for Helpful People. (And no, they didn't pay me to say it;-)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Woohoo! Technolust!

OK, first off, I do feel guilty. I bought my last 2-3 PCs locally, from DSI, and they do great stuff.

But a confluence of events led me in a new direction as I replaced my pretty darn trusty 3-year-old machine. New issue of PC Mag gives Editor's Choice kudos (for the value end of "content creation" PCs) to the HP Media Center m7160.

I decide on a what-the-heck to check Costco - and there it sits, with a big 19-inch monitor drawing me in - in fact, it's the m7167c and that has a 300-gig HD (up from the 250) in the review. A Pentium dual-core processor, gig of memory, etc. for $1,499.

So I did it, with all the trepidation of a John Dvorak (who writes in the same issue of PC Mag how lousy it is to upgrade PCs and move stuff over, etc.)

I've been down that often bumpy road, but tonight - knock on silicon, again - the smoothest I've ever had. (Getting a 100-gig Maxtor external HD earlier made the whole transfer much easier). Even Microsoft is in for kudos - again (I gave them some earlier for their real strong effort to help me solve my old PC's woes) - as the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard actually did its thing.

I had looked at Shuttles - the small-form factor PC, so cool, quiet too - though some tech friends bemoaned the relative hassle for any later expansion (I don't usually expand, I just upgrade and hand off the old PC to someone in need.) All the nasty talk about Dell led me in another direction.

So here I sit, just after midnight, using my new, pretty darn quiet wireless keyboard and mouse and staring in awe at a screen that is like an IMax compared to my old 15-incher.

I do have stock in HP - OK, just one share;-) - and have always loved their printers. But dang, can you color me impressed. We all hear the horror stories, but rarely hear from those who are blessed to get a box that works right out of the box. Ya never know what tomorrow may bring, but for now - hats off to them.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

ARRGH! How dare you, Blogger!

Oh that's RICH. I get some Deep Thoughts in my Blogger editing tool, and for the very first time since I started this, the damn thing craps out on me - I get a page-error and back up and the words are all gone.

Wise, wonderful words.

No wonder people write this stuff in Word or notepad or whatever and then cut/paste. I just hadn't been bit til now!

Okay, I'll try again....

Update: How about that! It didn't eat my words after all, there they are, down below! Maybe they survived cuz I just laughed, rather than get mad, and the Karma Gods decided "oh what the heck...";-)

Guilt wise: Is blogging like parenting?

I have no kids, but I do have this (and this - when WILL Squarespace and its easy Website tool get the attention it so richly deserves?) so ... pardon me if this is old philosophizing, the thoughts are there...

It's the 21st Century version of "do we own or stuff, or does our stuff own us?"


Come on, folks, admit it - if you go more than a day or three without updating your little corner of the blogosphere, you can practically hear it wailing at you from every Net-enabled PC: "Feed me!" (Insert basso profundo voice of "Little Shop of Horrors" carnivorous plant here;-)

I have a friend who has taken to actually taking his two days away from work also away from blogging. (I can't blog at work because, well, it just wouldn't be kosher!) And when I go there, and there's nothing new, I try not to "harrumph." Cuz we all deserve, need and want our time away from these infernal PCs (I really DO want something where I can mix the two, and am still debating the cheap notebook vs. Cybook vs. Pepper Pad thoughts.)

Of course, Jake has kids, so he MUST have more important things to do with his days off than blog. But what's my excuse? Laziness? No. Nothing to say? Ask anyone who knows me - that's NOT it.

But just maybe, I want to own my blog rather than the other way around.

It reminds me of what happens in journalism ( and probably every other working situation), where the little day to day stuff just slides into and out of your life like no problem, but the Big Project just sits on your noggin like a Ton O' Guilt, and is harder and harder to avoid, but also harder and harder to make any progress on, because you've made A Very Big Thing out of it, and you CAN'T just whisk that out in an hour or a day, can you?

I keep meaning to join Procrastinators Anonymous but (insert punchline here).

Anyway, one doesn't have to go all Thoreau or Gandhi to realize that the Path of More and More Stuff is inherently dissatisfying. My wife and I, we pray, are turning over a New Leaf and not sliding back into the Pit of Endless Credit.

I'm rambling. I can do this, I own this blog. It does NOT own me. On the other hand, if I want people to read it, I have to make a point ONCE in a while.

And yes, I've read some things somewhere that talk about how blogging is NOT about the reading but the writing, about putting one's voice and thoughts Out There. But come on, be honest, don't we all cry for a Gold Star on our forehead, a fervent round of applause, a simple "ya done good!" from someone whose views you admire and respect?

So maybe blogging isn't like parenting.

It's just like life. The good, the bad, and hopefully not the ugly.

Religions have been based on less;-)

Busy, in a good way

Sorry so long between posts.

Deb and I gave up trying to find a house we liked in Bend (more than our own) for anything CLOSE to what we could afford.

Instead, we did what I bet a lot of folks are doing - a refinance, to get the equity out (after just three years - such a boomtown, why not take advantage?) and put it into both paying off bills and upgrading the house - new, more energy-effieicent appliance, a new computer for Yours Truly, etc.

We're also in need of (finally) putting in a backyard fence, and are eyeing some remodeling in both the kitchen and the master bath. All that'll boost this place's resale value - that is, if we can ever find another place we can afford that we like;-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricanes and heartache: Memories of Betsy

This week has brought back memories of when I was 9 years old and living in New Orleans when Hurricane Betsy stormed in, 40 years ago next month.

Our family left our mobile home and stayed the night on the second floor of apartments where my folks had lived previously. As everyone says, you never forget that roar of wind - especially in the dark, especially as a child.

Our station wagon was totaled, but miraculously, our mobile home floated during the storm, coming down almost on its blocks. The following year, in Cocoa, Fla., my stepmom was actually IN the same trailer (let's be honest -a 60-by-10 foot mobile home IS a trailer) when tornadoes tore through C. Florida and blew up trailers to either side of ours (unoccupied, with windows closed - the big air-pressure difference sealed their doom.)

Anyway, my heartfelt prayers for better times goes out to all hit hard by this tragedy. As a "Betsy veteran," I'm not thinking of the other impacts right now (high gas prices for example), but all the poor (literally in most cases) people left with so little. God tests us all in varied ways, but ... some worse than others;-/

Monday, August 29, 2005

I (maybe) FOUND my 21st Century Etch-A-Sketch!

A few days ago, I wrote:

I still remember the Oregonian piece, about 8 years ago, with a photo of a red-framed Internet tablet, about the same size/shape as the old Etch-A-Sketch of days of yore.

I still want my cheap ($300 or less), lightweight, long-lasting, droppable, broadband Net surfer, that can sit in my lap (without roasting it) in the living room, surfing while my wife reads or watches TV or whatever.

THEN the world will change.

Well, I spotted a brief blurb in Mobile magazine, and lo and behold, something much like what I want is about to hit the shelves - albeit, almost three times my desired price point. It's called the Pepper Pad, and looks pretty nifty (an Amazon reviewer pointed out a couple flaws, but nothing's perfect;-)

So maybe I don't have to buy a $750 laptop that has stuff I don't need/want, or is too darn heavy. I just may sign up for BendBroadband's new home WiFi service (about to upgrade to their 6mbps cable-modem service - wow!) - and I settle for the compromises. (One question I faced: Do I avoid Dell, or presume Jeff and others like him have had a bad experience? I can't spend $2,000 on something like this.)

I previously said: I surely hope the battery, display and broadband (WiMax, please! My brother's an Intel consultant on that very issue) matters get solved in the next few years. I want my window to the world, cheap, in my lap - capable of reading any book or magazine I own or subscribe to, bright, sharp, clear, etc. Maybe not even always connected, but more cell-like, as I ride in a car or such. Oh boy!

Then again, another way to possibly get there from here, without spending over $400 or so, is the Cybook, which again has tradeoffs (slow processor, not a lot of RAM) but is at the right pricepoint if one is willing to download eBooks into a bright, color screen and not needing to be connected to the Net at all times.

So there's options, and hopefully more on the way. Hey, a guy can dream - and maybe dreams can come true, slowly but surely?;-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Typewriters never say die

Fun piece in The Oregonian today (found it online at another site) about how young people are rediscovering the simple joy of pounding on keys that actually strike a page.

Best line is from a Portlander, Jake Shivery of Blue Moon Camera and Machine: "There is no button on a typewriter which will lose your documents." ;-)

My Smith-Corona electric typewriter had that nifty slide-in ribbon cartridge - having spent many an evening changing messy ribbons on UPI teletype machines, it was nice to avoid getting ink-stained hands - plus, there was a correct-type cartridge that you could use to "white out" mistakes without having to use those little bottles of White Out and blow the paper dry.

Ahh, memories. Computers can do so much more, of course, but ... simpler can be better

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We're No. 1, and pass the pizza please...

So we're the only state that didn't get fatter last year?

How about that, I'm part of a trend - my docs (after a REAL fun Fantastic Voyage up and down my body) are telling me to lose weight, eat better and have smaller, more frequent meals, get more exercise - and, of course, cut down on stress. (Oh, and pay that bill pronto;-)

I'm workin' on it. Cut waay back on Coke, even found a Diet 7-Up Plus Splenda-fueled cherry drink that doesn't make me gag. Elliptical trainer is getting more use, and ... nah, I won't say it here, I'll just jinx myself. But I'm working to get better - not perfect, just better.

Yahoogle, or GooGoo?

What IF Yahoo! and Google were to merge, or one were to acquire the other? Which name would it be?
I read today that Google is looking at getting in the IM business. They could do a lot worse than buying Trillian. Maybe they could call it Gillian? Or would it be Troogle?
Aren't words fun?;-)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee's math

From the "nutrition facts" on the side of a loaf o' bread (do they really ship it all the way from Mo.? Should I feel guilty for not supporting local bakers? But I digress...)

Calories: 110
Calories from fat: 10

Then, ever so helpfully, they add:

Calories per 2 slices: 210
Calories from fat: 25

Huh??? The calories per slice DROP when you eat two slices? But the calories from fat go UP? I'm no food scientist, or mathematician, but ... that's pretty durn bizarre;-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Long time no talk so sorry

Hmm, well, some very eagle-eyed folks might know one reason why I haven't had much to say here.

Let's just say I naively had to be reminded that I work for a company again, and that it's really not smart to ... well open one's mouth and insert one's foot. I can be so naive, but I try not to be a total lamebrain.

Anyway, am still settling into my TV job, after about five months, and each day brings its little successes and frustrations and ... hey, it's a job, ya know?

After three months, the foot (see my car-crash post) still isn't quite normal, so for that and other reasons I've gone to see a new doctor, with whom I did one of those awful things: total honesty. So now, even before the big 5-0, I'm going to have a real joyful Fantastic Voyage trip up my whoohoo and down my big fat mouth. If that doesn't teach me, nothin' will.

Enough. I'll weigh in more often, I think. Just have to find the right words. Oh man, that sent me to the crates of LPs, and a 1978 album - yes ALBUM, not CD - by a guy named Mike Finnigan. In the days when liner notes didn't require bifocals or electron microscopes. No lyrics posted, but the song The Words - I remember them so well:

Where do the words come from when you need them
They make themselves so hard to use
Well I wouldn't have a date with the blues
If I could only find the words ...

I would shout out my story
With a heavenly glory
If I could only find the words

What is it like, Capt. Steinbeck?
Do you worry about the things you missed?
Well I do and I hurry
Like a fool from 9 to 5
Trying to keep my words alive

I would shout out my story
With a heavenly glory
If I could only find the words...

And that's what I do, even now. The words are important on TV, though for me, they come far easier than all the technical/procedural pieces of the video puzzle.

Anyway, hope all's well with all of you. Off to bed...;-)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ouch. Whew, but ouch.

This way I don't have to retell ad nauseam.
Went out this afternoon to hit Barnes and Noble with Brother Rick's gift card, but never made it.
That darn two-lane stretch of 27th Street bit me - or actually, allowed me to bite myself.
That and Daylight Savings Time.
But primarily, my own stupidity.
It began to rain. I looked down to recall how to change the clock, Spring Forward, for, um, dunno, 2 seconds?
Looked up. Car that was 50 yards ahead of me was now only about 25, and had STOPPED. (To turn left).
I STOOD on the brakes, laid rubber, and STILL, the front of my '98 Protege hit the back boat-anchor bumper of a 1985 Chevy Caprice at, I'd guess, 15 mph.
Thankfully, we didn't go into the oncoming lane or ditch. Air bag didn't deploy, etc.
The kid (16?) at the wheel and his grandmother got out after we both pulled over into Eastside Garden's parking lot.
I got out, and could tell immediately I'd messed up my right foot somehow.
The lady in passenger seat said her head whipped a bit. Oh boy.
Checked their back bumper. Not a scratch, you couldn't tell.
My front bumper, however, has a quite artistic twisted-metal license plate now, and a significant, um, crease/dimple in the bumper behind it.
Exchanged info, drove home, then Deb took me to Bend Memorial's urgent care. I could wiggle my toes - a good sign. Doc tried various "does this hurt" combos and believes I only strained (sprained?) my "forefoot." It doesn't hurt when I don't move, but walking is, um, difficult.
So I'm hobbling - he suggested ice (of course), elevation, Tylenol, etc.
Hurts when I walk, for sure. We have a cane I'll try to use, but weirdly, it feels better in shoe than out. (They tried a rigid-bottom, lace-up "cast shoe" on me, but that made it hurt like the dickens. Not great barefoot either.)
Reminds me of 20 years ago when I broke little toe going to bathroom one night. My UPI boss at the time called me after I'd taken a few days off to remind me, "Ya don't type with your toes!"
Ah, sensitivity.
Well, with the newsroom consultants in town this week, it means more sitting in meetings than usual anyway, thank goodness.
Doc warned it'll probably get worse for 2-3 days, then SHOULD start to feel better. If not, THEN go in and have them X-ray for a stress (hairline) fracture that he says wouldn't likely have shown up in X-ray today anyway (so we didn't do that.)
So I can work, I'll just be moving as little as possible.
Am VERY thankful it wasn't worse, for either car. Between my foot and Deb's wrist (in a splint for another week), we're a pair.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I love my brother...

...well, all three of them, actually.

But this is about Pete -- good ol', dependable, sometimes cranky but rock-solid Pietro. He and I have shared a special bond for, um, 15 years or so, since we both got into computers and tech, with his specialties in a) collecting as many gadgets, esp. PDAs of various generations as possible and b) always coming up with the BEST deals (saved my wife Deb's church group a tidy sum on their laptop with a deep-discount one-day-only deal). He knows eBay like the back of his hand - me, I couldn't figure out how to get a good deal there if ya bought me three Dummies books;-)

This is the guy who did the Jewish Guilt Trip better than anyone in our family when the Big Tragedy hit in 1965 (this item is a downer enough without details - the joke I've often told to head off the details is that my Family Tree turned to Mulch at a young age;-/

He developed an ulcer before he even became a teen. I externalized - wanting to fix things in a troubled family, earning the nickname Babblin' Barn - he internalized. The Big Tragedy also took its toll on our two older brothers, in differing ways, as well.

Anyway, Pete called the other night, and I can't ever remember hearing that frightened edge in his voice. I knew something was terribly amiss.

Malignant tumor. Esophogeal cancer.

Not the words you want any loved one to hear, but alas, sigh, argh, etc., it happens.

He'll do what needs to be done. It's operable, thank God. I'm sure Melissa, his wife, and their kids are damn scared. Of course.

But I refuse to believe God has it in for him. We've been through enough, and he has a family that loves him and wants him around for a good many years.

I'm sure my wonderful wife, Deb - home tonight from a record two-week business trip (with a wonderful perk of meeting her darlin' 5-year-old great-niece Sarah Elizabeth) will put Petey on a prayer chain, and our older brother Rick, who has done a phenomenal job of Life Turnaround in the past 10 years or so (so proud of him) will use his spiritual foundation to do the same.

Me, I'll call Dial-A-Prayer and make it collect. (I can hear Rick correcting me now;-)

But as usual, even for a news-numbed journalist, it surely puts things in perspective, as scary things usually do. I'm still wrapping my mind and heart and soul around my new TV gig, and hoping I can make that work well. But this is much more important, of course.

And this lil entry is just a chance for me to do what us Mumblin' Stumblin' Guys (especially us Lertens) do far too little, until times get tough - tell him I love him, am proud of what he's done with his life, and will do anything he needs or wants to help him get better.

Pete and I have had our spats over the years. Never big ones, though. We see things alike, but not always. He can nag in that Big Brother way, to make sure I do the right thing. But it's never a harangue, never a drill sergeant or bossy mentality. Love is the foundation, and a shared love of things like Steely Dan, the latest cool gizmo, a good cheesesteak (or pizza - ugh, there's the rub) and Tastykake.

If only we could upgrade the bod the way we can our PCs and gadgets. Pete, ya damn well better stick around for the nifty new stuff coming down the pike. It's time for a fight, and to use any and every excuse to laugh, hug and take your mind off It. Don't let It overwhelm you, or send you packing. We all need you, and love you.

Now go create that great blog to share your great deals and more. I'll be happy to typo-catch;-)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Reporting is easy, TV is hard!

Two weeks in, and I feel like a cub reporter. A clueless newbie, as it were.

Oh, I've had lots of stories on the air, beating the paper on lots of things. But I've yet to touch a camera, much less shoot or edit any video. That's coming, I know.

But I was so spoiled, even in my newspaper/wire service days, much less on the Web, with its infinite "news hole." TV (like radio) is where The Clock Rules, a minute is an eternity to just watch someone sit and talk. Fresh, live action! Snappy pace!

I'd forgotten how difficult it is to write so tightly. It's not about leaving things out, it's about getting the very most important, key elements in, and letting your video fill in the blanks in ways that a static image or printed words can never do.

And as we get more copy on their Website, it's also clear that you can't just slap broadcast copy on the Web and figure it'll work. It won't. Broadcast copy is meant to be read aloud, and to be heard. That's a whole different thing. It's not just cut and paste.

Wish me luck!;-)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Finally, I can talk...

It's been almost a month since the call I'd dreaded for close to five years, ever since I went to work for my boss at, Spencer Dahl: He'd run out of funds to pay me.

Yuck. It was a wonderful ride, one that many people were kind enough to tell us they appreciated. But I knew things had gotten tight.

I didn't want to move. I've come to love Central Oregon, and loved that job right up until the end. But I had to act, fast. My wife has a real good job as well, but no way was it going to cover things.

So I frantically networked - and this week, I landed on my feet. I'm the new ... well, here's the press release that went out today:

Barney Lerten, a prolific 14-year veteran of Central Oregon print, Internet and broadcast journalism, has joined the staff of KTVZ NewsChannel 21 as Assistant News Director, the station announced Wednesday.

Lerten has spent the past five busy years as senior reporter and managing editor of, generating hundreds of stories a month on every facet of High Desert news, events, issues and people. Now, he takes up a new challenge, assisting “Central Oregon’s News Leader” in its daily efforts to inform, explain, illuminate and engage its audience on that same wide variety of High Desert news coverage.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Barney aboard, and we know that his insight, professionalism and wealth of experience will prove invaluable to our coverage of the region,” said Lee Anderson, KTVZ News Director.

“It’s definitely a new and exciting challenge for me, and one I’m grateful to undertake,” said Lerten, 49, who spent 14 years with United Press International in San Francisco and Portland before moving to Bend and joining The Bulletin in early 1991. In recent months, he also provided daily news reports on Redmond radio station KRDM, New Talk 1240.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity,” Lerten said, “and I’m looking forward to staying as busy as ever, both in the newsroom and out and about – not to mention helping to develop a truly first-class Website that Central Oregonians can turn to.”

KTVZ, now also broadcasting on digital TV channel 18, has become an integral member of the Central Oregon community over the past 28 years, offering a variety of entertainment, public affairs and news programming as a member of the NBC network. NewsChannel 21 is owned by NPG of Oregon, a subsidiary of News-Press and Gazette Broadcasting Co. of St. Joseph, Mo.

So ... there it is. I'm three days in, and already getting stories on-air, though I've yet to shoot video, appear on-camera, etc. (I'll spare you the on-set still they sent out with the release - lordy lordy, someone get a mask;-)

I've got a lot to learn, believe me. But I also have a lot to offer, in terms of knowledge of the region, journalism stuff (like fairness, accuracy, etc.) and the plain ol' daily hustle to beat, as Lars Larson would put it, "The Daily Dead Fish-Wrapper."

The people you see on TV here in Central Oregon, and those behind the scenes have been very kind and welcoming, even forgiving of my bad jokes and puns (Lee Anderson and I, alas, have somewhat similar senses of humor - but also, thankfully, similar approaches to news judgment, etc.)

With all the acronyms, the coding of rundowns (what TV folk use to assemble a newscast), not to mention video shooting and editing with their fancy new digital system, it'll take a bit of time before I feel at ease. That also means it could be some time before I can have a big impact on their Website - and I'm asking folks for patience in the meantime. But I have a hunch I'll live up to their expectations, and my own (the biggest pressure I ever feel is what I put on myself;-)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Whether weather weathers well?

Hmmm. A friend's note prompted this mini-vent: Why does the Weather Channel seemingly just try to confuse us at times?

My beef: They use the National Weather Service to post local info in terms of heavy snow warnings, tornado warnings, etc. But sometimes, that info conflicts with the forecasts as presented by the Weather Channel itself.

Case in point: Yesterday, all day, they carried a "heavy snow warning" from the NWS for Central Oregon, immediately followed by their own forecast, which called for ... an inch of slushy snow. They (the Weather Channel folk) were right, by the way - this is the second straight weekend where the feds warned of heavy snow that didn't materialize. (I should be careful - we might have a half-foot of snow by tomorrow. Or... not.)

Anyway, my point is, either rely on your own forecast, or don't. Don't confuse us with two markedly different ones. How does that help anybody?

Vent off;-)