Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

The best place to start for information on the “Novel Coronavirus” (COVID-19) Information is the State of Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 page. There is also a page for Franklin County Public Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page. The CDC has info on its Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page. Also see World Health Organization (WHO) WHO Coronavirus Info.

Columbus City Schools has a page for COVID-19 updates.

Local Forest Park institutions’ info on program impacts may be found : YMCA of Central Ohio, and COLUMBUS METROPOLITAN LIBRARY.

The Columbus Dispatch Coronavirus Articles may be viewed without paywall. (They suggest “Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at”) For national info you might also explore The Washington Post Coronavirus info page.

Why are governmental and other organizations doing these things? It’s called “flattening the curve.”

For a neat graphical representation of the spread of coronavirus, see the site made by Avi Schiffmann, a high schooler in Washington State, USA: For more about Avi see Alternet article.

Speed Testing Your Internet Connection

I had a conversation with some folks at the F.P.C.A. meeting regarding concerns about the quality of internet connections provided by some of the large local vendors.

Thus I am posting some links to test sites, with a local (614) flavor.

First, here are test sites for our major carriers in the Forest Park / Northland area. These are all “nearby” as the topology of the internet goes. Start with your carrier. If you get good results there but have trouble with others, your provider may have connection problems with the wider net.

Note: flash-based test sites may not work with some browsers (e.g. Chrome, Safari. …). Tell your cable company to update their test sites!

Here are some other good test sites.

For even more just plug “Speed test” into your favorite search engine!
Most of these require flash. The search above can find even more resources!

updated 2017-06-17

Subscribe to All-In-One-Event-Calendar feed: with your Android, iPhone, desktop …

All-In-One-Event-Calendar for Forest Park Civic Association

Have you ever wanted to subscribe to one of those neat Calendar feeds offered on sites such as the Calendar on Forest Park Civic Association? Then you can have it all right there — on your desktop or your mobile device.

Note that subscribing is not the same as importing. Importing gives you a snapshot of items on the Calendar at the time it is taken. Subscribing connects you to a live feed that will update itself when something changes on the Calendar!

The Calendar discussed here is run on WordPress with the All-In-One-Event-Calendar plugin. While specifics may vary, general principles will be the same with many of the calendars you encounter.

Here’s how you can Subscribe to a Calendar Feed.

All-In-One-Event-Calendar subscribe buttonFind the Subscribe widget, at the lower left part of the Calendar.

All-In-One-Event-Calendar Subscribe - expandedClick on it with the left mouse button – or mobile equivalent. You will see a drop down menu from which you can choose the best match for several types of calendars which you may have.

You will likely be automatically be directed to set up your Calendar feed in the appropriate application.

With some systems, you may need to get a little “geeky,” by right clicking (most likely on the on the “Add to other”) choice and copying the URL. This is in case you need to paste /enter this string into your particular calendar system. The string will look like this:

[Some applications may prefer webcal:// to http:// … Either will work With ThunderBird/Lightning/Sogo (Iceweasel/IceOwl/Sogo in Debian)]

Bonus – How to Select only certain categories

All-In-One-Event-Calendar Categories - expandedAt the top of the calendar find the “Categories” widget.
Click on the “V” on its right edge with the left mouse button – or mobile equivalent. You will see a drop down menu from which you can select categories.

(They are “sticky” — You can select/unselect at will, but if you choose to clear all, you need to click the “X” at the left of the “Categories” widget.)

All-In-One-Event-Calendar Categories - [UN-]selectOnce your Categories are selected, you can (as above), choose an appropriate filtered feed. (You could also use this functionality to make separate feeds for each Category.)

Technical note: the string as noted above will append instructions for categories – e.g. &ai1ec_cat_ids=21,11 for Meetings and Blockwatch:,11


Exporting Events From Your Calendar

Debian Mozilla Team changes | Firefox now replaces Iceweasel for “release” version

Debian Mozilla team

The Debian Mozilla team provides various versions of some Mozilla related packages for use on different Debian systems. The following wizard helps you to find the packages suitable for your system.

WARNING: Iceweasel is gone. Please update your apt sources.


Very recently the Debian Mozilla Team has made some changes concerning the latest release of Iceweasel and installing Firefox. Up until a few days ago you could add a line to your sources list (see below), download and install the keyring then install the version release of Iceweasel which tracked the Firefox release cycle.

deb jessie-backports iceweasel-release

Now that’s all been changed. Depending on your preferences it could be for the worse or the better. Now you only have the option of getting the ESR version (38 ESR) of Iceweasel or the latest Firefox release. In order to stay with ESR add this line. You most likely already have that line and won’t need to do anything.

deb jessie/updates main

If you want the latest Firefox add the following line and then run the following command. Make sure you’ve added the key ring to authenticate the packages.

deb jessie-backports firefox-release

The only tricky thing is that this will remove the icon/link for Iceweasel in your Activities Bar.
In GNOME 3, to add the new icon/link (for Firefox) you will need to

  1. Left click on Activities
  2. Start typing F i r e f o x …
  3. Left-click and hold on the Firefox icon when it appears
  4. Drag it to the left and stick it where you want it on the Activities Bar.

Google Chrome Browser – 32-bit version is disappearing | 64-bit debian fix

It seems that Google has seen fit to drop production of the 32-bit version of their Google Chrome Browser.

I first noticed this with Debian systems giving a warning on apt-get update. You can “fix” this for your 64-bit system

deb [arch=amd64] stable main

openSUSE and Fedora likewise no longer seem to have a 32-bit versions available.

Windows looks like it might still have a 32-bit version … for a while
For Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP 32-bit

Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”) Shutdown options

Options to Shutdown, Logout, and configure Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”) are normally found by clicking on your name at the top right. The image below is GNOME 3: “Classic” mode is quite similar. Suspend options may also appear, depending upon hardware and configuration. Social media and Notifications also appear in the dropdown in GNOME 3.

Other functions on the top task bar include accessibility, sound control, networking.

(Note that I have added the desktop icons, which are switched off by default.)

Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”): Choose Desktop

Did you know that you have a choice of Desktops in Debian 7 Linux (“Wheezy”)?

You can choose “GNOME, “and get the latest and greatest GNOME 3, with the heads up display and all the goodies.
Or, you can choose “GNOME Classic,” and you will get something much like the old GNOME 2 interface that many loved. There are also other derivative desktops following this poular design, including MATE and Cinnamon. (More pix of GNOME Classic) (If your graphics hardware cannot handle the load, you automatically get “GNOME Classic.”) I remember when GNOME 2 debuted. It preceded Apple’s desktop — and included many things that looked amazingly similar when that came out.
Or you can choose any of a number of other desktops

  • the ultra-lightweight LXDE (shown among the choices here).
  • the highly-customizable KDE 4more pix.
  • and more …

Click on links in the text above to see more about some of these desktops.

Accessing Firefox or Iceweasel menus and toolboars

In recent versions of the Firefox browser (A.K.A.IceWeasel in Debian distribution of Linux), the developers have made their aestheic choice to hide the menu and certain toolbars by default.

If you wish to make these re-appear:

1. Go to the “Open Menu” button at far right by address bar.

2. Select “Customize”

3. In the page that opens in your browser, go to the bottom left and choose the desired menu and toolbars through the “Show / hide Toolbbars” dropdown.

Using Social Media (vs. Being Used By) for Your Organization or Business

A few caveats regarding use of social networking. After reading the book referenced below, Social Media is Bullshit (B.J. Mendelsohn); I am coming to some evolving conclusions regarding the place of social media in a communication strategy for non-profits and small businesses (basically anyone not rich enough to drop dump trucks of dollars to purchase “preferred” advertising, etc. on these sites and media).

Social media companies are in business to sell advertising, and even more so to target advertising by aggregating (and often selling) information about their users. In other words, on most all of the social networking sites, YOU/WE are the product !!! … So, for the sake of privacy, we want to be careful what we hand to them.

Proliferation of these kinds of sites fragments the flow of information going out from our organizations, and fragments and erodes our control over information and lists of subscribers. Organizations and businesses need to keep control of our message, and our lists of subscribers!

  • If Facebook has my list of interested subscribers, they can take it away at any time — or use it to sell them junk, which may alienate them.
  • If we have a fragmentation of our communications, important things can get lost in the shuffle. People do not know whether to look on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, … or Where?

Once we ensure we are in control, then there are ways we can use social media sites — vs. them using us.

Probably the best overall policy for a business or organization is to seek to make our web sites a central focus for information and communication, keeping control of our own subscriber lists, and then syndicating information through RSS and social media. We should do this in such a manner that it reminds people that the authoritative source for information is our site. (Likely also the best place to “discuss” is our forums.)

When we do this our site becomes the “canonical,” “go to” source for information. With this established we can then choose to use social media in a targeted manner: we target the sites that are useful to getting our message out by feeding info to them that brings people back to us. People know that our site is the place to get the whole scoop — about which they learn via the feed.

I’m still sorting out the way to focus forums for discussion. These can be done on a web site, or through associated Forums. I think the chief objective here is to avoid the fragmentation of having our conversations spread out among Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. in such a manner that none achieves critical mass. (In many respects, the old LISTSERVs (like OAGC lists) work very well here — although threaded web forums are often easier to read!)


Social Media is Bullshit (B.J. Mendelsohn):
Social Media is Bullshit | St. Martin’s Press
Social Media is Bullshit book site
B.J. Mendelson’s Blog/Site

One good way to syndicate to social media from a WordPress based web site:
Jetpack plugin
“Integration with and automatic posting to your favorite social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Path, and LinkedIn.”