This is the personal Blog home of Brian M. Westbrook. I make no guarantees you will like what you see here -- or receive any value. If you're looking for my radio stuff, it has (for the most part) moved to:

09 November 2007

My Campaign for One Page Trip Results

I need a haircut.

Many "Green" initiatives are complex, involved projects that span multiple agencies and take months to complete. Here's one tip for the Metro KC website that can save precious resources with a few lines of code (or, more likely, a few *less* code).

My mother is in town. I lent her my vehicle today so she could trek out to Bellevue Square in (as my friends and I refer to the other side of the lake) "Eastern Washington". Hopefully she'll return with plenty of expensive gifts for me. Meanwhile, back to that haircut... I'm heading out of town for the weekend and have a busy week next week. Fortunately, I was able to schedule an appointment with Liana @ noon today. Without my car... I'll be taking the bus. Yay, fun!

So I go on to the Metro KC Transit Planner ("Plan Trip" @ and enter the address of my office (1501 4th Avenue) and that of Liana’s Hair Salon (1125 E Olive Street) with an arrive-by time of 12:00 Noon. The trip results suggest three single-bus itineraries on routes 11, 10 and 49. Sorted! I print the results to take with me… two pages spit out of the printer behind my desk. (See PDF)

The second page is merely footer information and links to "plan a new trip" and invitations to "investigate alternatives". All the essentials are on the first page.

Suggestion: Compress the trip results page so that most single-bus itineraries print on one page. I suspect I'm not alone in printing my results – and all those extra wasted pages throughout the Metro transit system could be conserved. A few minutes of simply eliminating line breaks (do we need a solid bar at the top of the results?), reducing font size, or merging some results to one line (could "send feedback", "plan return trip" and "revise original entries" be place on the same line?).

Now with page two in the blue bin for each of my outbound and return trips – I'm ready to get my haircut and the world will no longer be subject to my shaggy do.

Thanks for listening and joining me in the fight for single-page transit results!

30 August 2007

KATU Blogger Meetup: Recap & Photos

Syndicated from:

KATU invited nearly 100 local bloggers to the studios in Southeast Portland for a "meetup". While met with initial skepticism, conspiracy, and as many theories as there were invites, the event was an amazing success! Thanks to the team at KATU for reaching out to the blogging community in stumptown -- for trusting me with the task of corralling the masses and hosting the meetup, the great food and drink, the clever (and useful!) thumb drive-containing gift bags and of course for letting us invade your studios for the evening! (I hope we didn't leave a mess?) More "Thank You" notes in a bit, but for now...

The Details
Arriving at the KATU Studios just before 6:30pm, my parking concerns eased with a spot across the street from the Portland Mercury offices, and -- more importantly -- the much-anticipated 4-Square tournament (good thing it wasn't a beer-tossing contest!).

Across the street, bloggers from all genres were shuffling in, registering and receiving name tags. My first impression was that the KATU staff was warm and welcoming -- working wonders at setting any tension or awkwardness at ease (thanks Kristen!). I exchanged greetings with the now-familiar Rob and Terry and made my way back to the studio.

What the room lacked in size, the buffet table redeemed in selection. The traditional fried finger foods were paired with an assortment of meats, cheeses, shrimp, even sushi (though I've never quite been able to stomach the idea of party sushi). KATU's staff of bartenders (perhaps explaining how they get through long wall-to-wall coverage of Pacific Northwest storms?) served up a selection of area wines and Widmer beer. I suspect we made friends among the engineering staff by leaving behind the leftover keg.

It's at this point we learn there's an interview for KATU's sister station in the news studio. This temporarily deflates hopes of a group photo on the anchor chair and quality time in Helen and Dave's AM Northwest living room. Fortunately, hope was restored in the form of a quick interviewer and we filed in to the primary broadcast studio.

You've certainly heard about tiny news sets -- this was no exception or surprise. I didn't realize they used the same room for both the local news AND the AM Northwest program. Props to the engineers for making that work every day!

I put on my headset for the group photo and more mingling / networking before the night came to a close. I regret that I didn't get to meet everyone, and I won't even *try* to recount all the faces and names I did chat with (with some exception below) -- hopefully you had as good a time as I did and, well ...until we meet again!

  • Matt & Scott at Portland Mercury - thanks for the 4-square, next time I promise I'll even play! (if you'll forgive me for the invite snafu?)
  • Rich - hopefuly you got at least one decent shot? (I went back to the mic so you could have a second chance. ;-) )
  • Dieselboii - Thanks for inviting fellow bloggers and the great chat.
  • LynnS - You were as insightful and friendly in person as you appear on your blog - thanks for coming!
  • Athena - I look forward to the Portland version - where can I get the Seattle book about ghosts? You're brave heading to the basement!
  • J.D. - when I win the MegaMillions ($325 million!!) on Friday, I'll come to you for advice!
  • Samuel John Klein (and the WifeTM) - You looked like a natural at the anchor chair, did you drop off a resume?
  • Aaron (a fellow "RCG") - thanks for reconnecting even though you couldn't make it (congrats on the newborn!). Let's get together soon?
  • To Rob, Terry, John, Julie, Kristen, Steve, Deb, and the rest of the KATU staff that made the event possible -- thank you! You were excellent hosts.

With that, I say... Let the conversation continue!

For more coverage of KATU's Blogger Meetup, visit:
  • Brian M. Westbrook's photo gallery (including the "group photo")
  • Portland Bloggers Flickr group (join the group, share your photos!)
  • Blogtown PDX Four-Square game highlights (bonus: animated photo)
  • Terry Heaton's PoMo Blog: Bloggers Meet in Portland
  • Oregon Media Insiders declares: "KATU Is My New Best Friend" (Can I have your energy drink? ;-) )
  • ...did you write about the meetup? Tag your post "katumeetup" so we can all find it. Drop me a note and I'll add to this list. Unless you have bad photos of me, then tag your post "awfulphotoofbmw" so I can filter out the horror. :-p

    Thanks again to everyone who came out -- it was a pleasure to meet such a diverse and passionate group of bloggers.
  • 11 July 2007 signs up Bill Gates

    According to the Seattle PI (and various wires), Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates has recently, through his Cascade Investment arm, invested in Planet Out, Inc (parent company of, OUT & Advocate magazines, RSVP Cruises, others).

    This begs the question: Did Gates get a free premium membership to GAY.COM
    ? Will he be a guest on the next all-gay cruise?

    16 May 2007

    Phrase-That-Pays for 20070516

    Overheard (while preparing for a demo at a local tech company):
    "Anyone got a Mac Dongle?"
    "Is that a new type of sandwich?"

    Check back soon for more "Phrase That Pays". :)

    15 May 2007

    Will Wikle interviews The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck

    Will Wikle is host of LOGO's Round Trip Ticket (a runner-up to my dream job of hosting The Amazing Race) and Radio With A Twist (Gay Days Anaheim sponsor). He sat down recently to interview Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the set of The View. Hasselbeck is the conservative voice of the daytime talkshow on ABC. The two blonde had an interesting "hot topic" dialog about Rosie's replacement, gay rights... and more. Jason Bellini, the gorgeous anchor of CBS News on LOGO, is Will Wikle's boyfriend and host of the online video blog "Here and Now". View Jason's video blog for Will's interview on the set of The View

    Will Wikle and Jason Bellini at Gay Days Anaheim 2006 photo by Brian M. Westbrook - click for moreWill Wikle and Brian M. Westbrook at Gay Days Anaheim 2006 photo by Brian M. Westbrook - click for more
    Will Wikle (L), Jason Bellini, and Brian M. Westbrook (R) at Gay Days Anaheim (photos by Brian M. Westbrook)

    11 May 2007

    American Idol Finalist Blake Lewis in Seattle

    American Idol Finalist Blake Lewis stopped by Westlake Center in Seattle today. I snapped some photos from the 16th floor of Century Square and had the photos featured on (local website for FOX affiliate). I've decided I should bring my Nikon digital SLR to work more often. :) You can see the complete gallery on my photos site here or visit the page for more on Blake Lewis' American Idol "Hometown Visit" here. (They've recorded bits during the visit for broadcast on American Idol -- check local listings!)

    More photos of American Idol finalist Blake Lewis' Seattle visit

    Read my friend Chris' blog posting on Blake Lewis (

    07 March 2007

    Silverado: Gay strip / dance bar in PDX about to close... :(

    From Just Out (Portland):

    Seems Silverado is the latest establishment on the condo-redevelopment chopping block.

    05 March 2007

    Hijacked Myspace page could mean trouble for everyone

    Tech Expert Bonus Post

    It might not be a jumbo jet, but a hijacked Myspace page can open the door to many problems -- identity theft, stolen data, or an inbox full of spam. It can affect not only the owner of the hijacked Myspace page -- but anyone who visits the page.

    Since I get asked this question quite a bit -- I figured I'd post (if anything so I can point users here rather than re-typing the story... lazy? yup!).

    Typically the Myspace hijack is introduced when a page owner decides to pimp their profile out with one of the many available "free layouts" abundant on the web. Installing this code on your page can introduce a trojan-like code that will result in those visiting the site in being phished of their myspace login. Here's how...

    Threat Details
    While browsing Myspace (or a similar site), an unsuspecting user / victim clicks a link appearing to be from a myspace "friend" (often this link is to "Send Message" or "Add as a Friend". (See screenshot with this post, personal information hidden to protect the innocent.) The link you click then prompts you with a "you must be logged in to do that" page... and without too much thought... ("oh, myspace must've logged me out or something, right?")... . and without checking the URL (i.e. look for ""), you've actually provided your myspace login information to the bad guys (who then cleverly re-direct you to the content you originally requested / your myspace home / someplace else that seems logical and doesn't raise your suspicion). The bad guys can now post bulletins / messages as YOU and spread the illegitimate login link to other victims...but wait, there's more...

    Now where this gets *really* bad is when you've used the same password in myspace as you have for your email account.

    Let's say your Myspace login is your email address ( and a password (hijackvictim). If you, like many other users, have set your myspace password to be the same as your email password... I (representing evil-doers everywhere) can now log into your email account. Muhahaha....

    And, as I'm sure you know, once I've got access to your email address... I can use the "forgot my password' link for a variety of sites -- obtaining access to bank accounts, ebay, etc. etc... (Click this link [mp3] for my 12 Feb 2007 report for Newsradio 750 KXL on identity theft.

    My suggestion: Change your myspace password immediately to something VERY DIFFERENT from anything else associated with that email address. Change every other login that uses the same password to something new and unique to your myspace account -- do it now.

    While not foolproof, some users pick a default password ("D0n't@sk!" and change it for every site... slighty... say, "D0n't@sk!a" for since "A" is the first vowel... something you can remember, but that keeps your passwords unique... it's a start. (For more on good password techniques, listen to my report from 19 Feb 2007 here [mp3])

    Quick Tips:
    1. Change your myspace password to something unique (even if you don't think you've been hijacked, change it now!)
    2. Don't use the same password for myspace as you do email, bank accounts, etc. (this is good advice in general, but especially for sites like myspace)
    3. If in doubt, follow these steps: Open a new browser window to the site you're trying to view.
    4. Just because it *looks like* Myspace (or your bank's site, etc.) -- doesn't mean it is!
    5. Avoid clicking links in emails or online messages from strangers (and even then, do so with caution!)

    For more on this story, visit:

    01 March 2007

    Washington State Domestic Partnerships One Step Closer: SB-5336 Passes Senate

    For many of Washington State's domestic partners, today marks a surprising victory in the State Senate. In a 28 to 19 vote, the Senate passed SB-5336 granting same-sex partners many rights previously granted only to heterosexual married couples. The bill, sponsored by a coalition of openly gay state Legislators, was initially expected to fail during this first attempt. Now, with the House expected to approve a similar bill and Governor Christine Gregoire promising to sign the bill into law -- it seems domestic partnerships may become a reality in the Evergreen State!

    I've reported on the topic of equal rights for the State's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community on Sirius OutQ New (ch. 109). You can hear clips of past stories here:For more on this story:

    26 February 2007

    Online Small Business Software: Google vs. Microsoft

    KXL Tech Expert Segment for February 26, 2007
    Want to get your small business online but don't have the expensive resources to do it yourself? Microsoft and Google both launched new versions of their online web presence offerings last week and KXL Tech Expert Brian Westbrook has the three-minute rundown of what you need to know. Listen weekly to "Features on the :40's" on Newsradio 750 KXL (and online at each Monday for more

    Listen to my report on Google and Microsoft's new offerings here: kxl_techexpert-onlinesoftware_20070226.mp3

    22 February 2007

    Seattle Pride Owes Seattle Center $100k

    Listen to my radio report for Sirius Satellite Radio's OutQ ch. 109!
    SEATTLE -- Seattle's 2007 Gay Pride is at risk with recent disclosure of a $100k debt owed by event organizers Seattle Out And Proud (SOAP) to the City of Seattle (owners of Seattle Center). Seattle Gay News broke the story Friday, I filed a report (mp3) for Sirius OutQ News on satellite radio (channel 109) today.

    Related Links:

    Hopefully all sides can work out an agreement and we can have a great 2007 Pride! :-/  If not, anyone want to go to San Francisco that weekend?  hehe


    Seattle Pride official website

    click to view more of *my* photos from 2006 Seattle Pride at Seattle Center

    19 February 2007

    Default Router Passwords and Selecting Good Passwords

    KXL Tech Expert Segment for February 19, 2007

    Nothing new for many of you reading this blog... but today I talked about why you should change your computer's default password on my weekly radio appearance. Listen here: kxl_techexpert-pharming_20070219.mp3. (I noticed I haven't posted a radio report link in awhile, they're always at

    16 January 2007

    Hilarious video from today's snow storm (Portland)

    I know there are millions of video clips out there. This one, really -- just watch it. It seriously makes me want to buy a video camera... just in case! :)

    Watch the clip: Snowstorm Bumper cars video (NWCN)


    15 January 2007

    Comsumer Electronics Show and MacWorld 2007 Wrap-up

    Tech Expert Segment for 20070115

    Bummed you didn't make it to MacWorld to hear Steve Jobs announce Apple's new iPhone?

    Sad you missed a week in Vegas drooling over the latest in consumer electronics?

    I've got the complete rundown from both shows on today's Tech Expert repot on Newsradio 750 KXL. The report airs live at 6:40 & 8:40 as part of KXL's "Features on the :40's" segemnts and can be heard online on (right column of the homepage).