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Shout Outs

Shout Outs

October 30th, 2008  · stk

Randsco is "published" in a French textbook, a Florida reader sent Scott a Penn State baseball hat and Oklahoma's Red Dirt Emporium donated generously to Randsco. (Hmmm ... maybe it's time I find a way to say "thanks" to everyone that's helped Randsco ... here's a start)

Some Recent Kudos

October has been another milestone month for In addition to setting new records for visitation and Google AdSense revenue, there have been a number of other, off-site developments.

Two of those arrived by mail. First, we received a hard-back book. is now "published"! (One of our online photos was used in the book). Second, just yesterday, Scott received a surprise package. (No, it wasn't a bomb ... it was a Penn State baseball cap! We surmise that it's a "thank you" for the Geographically Challenged article, since it arrived without a note).

The other recent event was an generous, unsolicited donation - (donations of any kind, are a rare event) - by a company in Oklahoma, for the use of the Photo-caption Zoom technique.

Over the years, we've received a variety of unsolicited, creative "thank you's" for helping with HTML code, PHP scripts and/or our CSS techniques. Two that come to mind are a hand-made Afghan rug, which we received from a U.S. Army helicopter pilot stationed in Afghanistan and the other, an Opera CD sent by a Dane, living in Spain, who's wife is a singer.

We've had it on our "to-do" list to add a section that says "thanks" for all the people that have donated, contributed or helped in a meaningful way. This post is a way of biting the bullet and just "starting", though it will take some time to construct something more finalized and formal.

To find out more about our plans for "thank you's" and the story behind the book, the hat and the Oklahoma PZ3 donation ... carry on

The Book

We received an email in January of this year, from a French meteorologist by the name of Guillaume Séchet, who was planning on writing a book about weather records in the world. He wanted to use a photo that he had found on our blog, in the article about a freak early snowstorm that happened in September, shortly after we had moved to Edmonton.

After pinning down which photo he wanted to use, we sent him a hi-resolution version and a couple of other photos I took that morning (at 6:00 AM or some un-Godly hour I went traipsing into the way-too-early snow).

We didn't hear from Guillaume again until June, when he wrote to say the book on "Extreme Weather" was ready to be printed and would be out in September. I emailed a more formalized photo release and included our physical address, so he could send a copy of the final publication.

Bingo-blammo, we rolled into October (having forgotten all about Guillaume's book) and the postman brought an overseas parcel to our door. Curious, we opened it and found a copy of "Y'a Plus De Saison - chronique des grandes variations climatiques et phénomenes extrémes". (Roughly translated: There's More Season - Chronicle of large climate variations and extreme events).

The photo appears on Page 103, in the chapter on "Snow, Ice & Frost", the section on Early or Late Snow, "In the World".

The caption accompanying the photo says "Snowfall on 9-Sep-2004 in Edmonton (Canada, Alberta, 670 Meter elevation) - One of the big cities in the Northern hemisphere that knows the first flakes of winter. (ish)

Don't think we'll get lots of book deals, but it's pretty exciting that a photo I took on a frosty morning made it into - what looks like - a French meteorology textbook! (Wonder if Ron and Laura - our Edmonton landlords - know that a photo of their house made it into a French book?) Guess I'll have to email them and let them know!


The Hat

In a weird sort of way, the hat resulted from our Edmonton stay too. As an alumnus of Pennsylvania State University and a die-hard fan of Penn State football, living in Edmonton was a huge "dead-zone" for televised PSU football games. Even if Penn State played in a New Year's bowl game, it wasn't televised (NONE of the New Year's Day games - Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Fiesta Bowl ... heck ... they might as well have been called "Toilet Bowl" - since none were televised).

It was hard to follow Penn State football, but back then Yahoo!Sports offered free Internet audio for some of the teams (Penn State was one). Eventually, Penn State twigged to the idea that they could make money from Internet audio and suddenly (think it was 2005) you could no longer listen via Yahoo!Sports.

I had a brainstorm and discovered that even though Penn State was trying to charge for football games via, there were ways to get around this. (I thought it was horrible that games were broadcast on radio stations around Pennsylvania for FREE, but just because alumni lived and worked elsewhere, they were expected to pay for the same audio broadcast - especially since the Internet was supposed to bring the world together).

Anyway, I used my techniques to listen to Penn State games and decided there might be others out there wanting to do the same thing. So starting in 2005, I wrote an article (and kept it updated) with the links I use to listen to Penn State football on the Internet. It's been a popular article for Penn State football fans (as evidenced by the top-40 search term cloud at this time of year!)

We've never received any monetary support for our Penn State football links (even though I've asked for it), but yesterday, a listener by the name of Gordon, who lives in Florida, sent me a white Penn State baseball cap. Thanks Gordon! It's now my only PSU apparel (as everything I bought when I was going to school there, has worn out or turned into shop rags)! Now when Penn State has a "white-out", I'll be wearing my white cap and thinking of Gordon, in Florida!!

By the way ... Penn State is currently 9-0 on the season, ranked #3 in the nation and hunting for a National Championship! Go Joe Paterno! Go Nittany Lions! Go State!


The Donation

This week, I received an email from PayPal, saying that someone had donated to This doesn't happen very often, even though we ask for support from users of popInfo, Photo-caption Zoom, PZ3 "Hotspots", Email a Friend and CSS Slide Viewer. (We offer these things for free for personal use, but require a donation for commercial use). I'm astounded at the number of commercial outfits that don't honor this simple request and have wondered what to do - if anything - about it).

That's what makes this donation so special. Not only was it a generous donation, but it was unsolicited and there wasn't a pre-contact email asking, "How much should we donate?" They just donated. My spiffy new, white PSU hat is off to Chad at Red Dirt Emporium, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Chad also didn't ask for help - something that happens a LOT! - and to top it off, he deployed Photo-caption Zoom cleanly and it's even styled in a manner that fits with the website. Cool.

I have some loose ties to Oklahoma, having grown up in Bakersfield, California (lots of Oklahoma folks moved to the agricultural areas in California during the Great Depression ... "Grapes of Wrath" kind of stuff). I've got lots of friends with relatives still living there. I also have done a fair bit of seismic bird-dogging in Oklahoma and spent some time in Ponca City - Headquarters for Conoco Oil - when I worked for Conoco in Denver in the early 80's.

I've always been impressed with how friendly people are in Oklahoma, though I'm not big on chiggers.

Anyway ... a shout out to the Red Dirt Emporium About the Emporium Oklahoma's Red Dirt Emporium was founded in 2007 by three investors who shared several things: a love for Oklahoma, an investment in Oklahoma City's Bricktown district, and a desire to see Bricktown's retail offerings grow and thrive. Their goal is to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best Oklahoma has to offer. They specialize in products made in Oklahoma or with Oklahoma resources, plus art, music, film or written word by artists with Oklahoma roots, and items that simply celebrate Oklahoma. CLICK the link to visit the Red Dirt Emporium. ! I hope your Water Taxi and Emporium are a success. (And that this post and Photo-caption Zoom helps further your success). Thanks for the donation.


The Plan

I guess the Red Dirt Emporium is a good lead-in, as I think it's high time I find a way to more formally thank people who donate to, use Photo-caption Zoom (or other techniques and/or scripts), as well as help out in other ways.

I know I've relied on Cherie, Paul, Danny, Ed and others, at various times. Seems a shame I don't have a "blog-roll" thing (like they have with Randsco on it). I just haven't like blog-rolls much, in part because I think a long, static list of websites isn't all that useful to the average visitor. (Maybe I should just have a list but hide it from view, so Google "sees" it, but human visitors don't?)

Anyway ... the plan is to do something and rather than just a link, I'd like to tell the story of how so-and-so helped, or how they deployed a CSS technique a certain way ... personalize it a bit.

The idea I have now is to create a short article for each contributor, both to thank them by linking to their website and to describe a bit about their connection to The article will be linked to a graphic shown on the sidebar. The graphic (front-page) will link to their website (the web "thank you"), as well as "their story" (the personalized "thank you") and ALL the stories (for those that are curious).

Only one graphic will be shown in that sidebar at a time. They'll rotate in a "pseudo-randomized" fashion (they'll change on page load, but those sites who've helped or donated more, will come up more often). Not sure how I'll achieve this, but I think it's only fair.

Once I get this thing going, I'll try to back-populate it, because I don't want to forget all those that have helped to bring THIS far!! (Yeah, ¥åßßå, yer "tacky pad" will be coming up a lot)! :p

It's been a long time coming, but I hope to make up for it with something a little more "special" than just a blog-roll. ;)

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1.flag Gary Comment
Fame at last huh, your name and a picture in a book, nice one Scott. is on the map of fame, I will look out for you on the TV in the future ;)

Yab's is looking forward to getting his camera, I believe your folks even charged the battery for him !

He's a lazy arsed sod :)


2.flag stk Comment
LOL ... I'm still waiting for the royalty checks in the mail.

Yes @ charge ... guess all-y'all's Limey 'lectric plugs are funny and don't cotton to U.S.-type prongers (not to mention the whole amped up Voltage bit)! :p
3.flag Gary Comment
Yes the Limey 'lectric is 240 volts, are you different over there ?

4.flag stk Comment
Urm ... sockets are generally 110 volts and we have 2 parallel, vertical slat progers (sometimes with a centrally located, round ground, just below)