Monday, March 31, 2003

More on Geraldo
Well now I'm hearing that he actually wasn't kicked out. In case anyone is interested, here are some links. I got these off of Google news with this query.
I haven't read them all, but figured I would post, since I had posted the earlier entry about him being kicked out.
Two more days until we leave for Cancun. Woo hoo! We are doing down with Pastor Joe and Terri again. Should be a blast. We'll be staying at a new place, where they have stayed before. Supposed to have very good food, especially the Creme Bruelle.
[Wow... that was just exciting. Sitting here typing this in from home when I hear some "screaming" out back. Sounds like an animal getting killed or something. I look out the window and a neighbor is jumping the fence into another person's yard, and proceeds to help the owner separate two dogs. They both *looked* like they were ok...]
Anyway... Cancun should be great. Jaime will be staying with Erika, whose birthday is on the 9th. (Happy Birthday Erika!). They are going to be celebrating while we are gone. Erika's mom has big plans (which I know). It is driving the girls nuts. Good... it will teach them patience. ;-) :-)
Geraldo Rivera got "expelled" from Iraq. No big surprise there. Last night I was watching Fox News, and he was on. He was drawing in the sand for the cameras, showing which units were going to be attacking in which direction, how they were going to meet up, etc. I'm thinking to myself... isn't this operational details? Isn't this broadcasting advance information on troop movements, war plans, etc?
This morning I heard he got kicked out. Coalition command (or somebody like that), said something like, "We'll be dropping him off at the Kuwait border". Good
Didn't find much on this on the web, just a small reference, which was included in an article about Peter Arnett getting fired after appearing on Iraqi TV. I just love the liberal media. Sigh.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Subwoofers are an awesome thing. We just got two at church. They installed them Thursday and we practiced with them. Last night at Fusion was our first time having a worship team use them. It was very cool. Nathan was very happy (the bass player). :-) Actually everyone was happy. The sound was so much better - even the mix was better. It wasn't just a bass thing.
I'm playing with the worship team this morning and the one subwoofer is right next to me. It should be very cool.

Friday, March 28, 2003

I did ok
Got 10 out of 12 on the Citizenship Quiz.
Quote of the day
From a discussion on the WikiWikiWeb about the code being documentation:
Also, the code is preferable to other documentation forms, because it is known to match the code. Other forms of documentation generally require checking against the code, because they often don't match. --DougKing

Yah, well, there's the rub, eh? Why do some folks insist that the code is "right," even if it disagrees with the docs? If a design doc says that two modules have such-and-such an interface and some hacker makes his blessed code do something different, then the code is wrong. This business of going back to "correct" the docs after the code has been hacked out is wrong-headed.

The code may not be "right", but it is true.
An excellent statement. Many times developers check the code... not to see what it is supposed to do, but to actually find out what it does.
Oh... and speaking of pictures, here is one of Tina - playing monopoly with two of Pastor Joe's sons!
Tif's friend Martha got a digital camera, so Tif send me some pictures! Here is a full length one. Tif said it isn't all that flattering... but it is the only digital pic I have of her. I told her to send me a better one and I'll replace it. And her is a picture of her sexy new sandals.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

AT&T Sues Over 'Fat-Finger Dialing'
Yeah... from what I remember (and I could be wrong - so don't sue me!), AT&T did a similar thing when MCI came out with 1-800-COLLECT.
Quote of the day
"Getting shot at really wasn't that bad, it was getting shot that sucked." - from an interview with Army Staff Sgt. Jamie Villafane

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

So much for jamming equipment
When asked about the Russian made GPS jamming weapons, Ari said, "I think that was addressed rather smartly this morning in the gulf." There were 6 such "jammers" and we destroyed them all. One was destroyed by a GPS guided missle.
Principle of least astonishment
When asked "How do you force a carriage return after each command in a file?", Gary Riley (CLIPS author) replied, "This is one of those cases where the principle of least astonishment applies. All you need to do is put a carriage return after each command."

Perhaps a bit harsh (maybe?), but I thought it was a great "principle". Happens all the time with applications. Someone basically says, "How do I do xxx", and you reply, "You do xxx". :-)
msnbc: U.S. enlists dolphins to aid Iraq war effort
Article, with pictures, of the Navy using dolphins as mine hunters

Friday, March 21, 2003

A-10 Warthogs
Driving in to work this morning I heard on the radio that they had started the air campaign. Lots of different planes taking off from some airfield. They started discussing the A-10 Warthogs.
Brian wants the A-10 to be "his plane", i.e., when he gets done being an instructor, that is the plane he wants to fly. Given a different time, that could be my son-in-law flying into battle. Makes one stop and think.
I gave Tif and Brian a call and told them I loved em.
Good luck to our Armed Forces. Hopefully the casualties will be light.
Dryer sheets
I'm not sure what is up, but all of a sudden I'm finding dryer sheets everywhere. This morning I went to dry off with a towel and there was a dryer sheet stuck to it. Then this afternoon I was meeting with someone in my cube when they started laughing and I looked down. There was a dryer sheet creeping out of the leg of my pants.
I think they are trying to escape.
My paraphrased favorite Ari quote of the day, "know I shouldn't be saying this in this room... but the President doesn't usually sit around watching TV. He gets his reports from other sources."
I really like this guy. He handles the reporters pretty well, especially since so many of them ask stupid questions.
Blog from Baghdad
There is some speculation about whether or not this is real, but Where is Raed? is supposedly a blog from Baghdad

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

OUT-LAW.COM: The spammers are watching you.
Article discussing that previewing mail may cause a "live" notice to be sent back to the spammer, and how issuing a legit looking bounce may take you off the list. I have been using MailWasher and it has helped with both of these issues.
Its nice to have a Jeep
Went to the store. Most of the main roads are clear, but the local roads are down to one lane, and drifted in spots. A number of cars/suvs stuck in drifts, etc. Luckily I was in the Jeep and just plowed thru. Kind of fun.
MSNBC: Password-stealing e-mails spread
Another "fraud" scam. This one sends all your information to Russian fraudsters. As my boss said, "Never ever give this kind of information out over the web." This is just another form of social engineering. Used to be they'd tried to gather this type of info over the phone. "Your account is having problems, please give us all your info." Now they are doing it via e-mail. Same tricks, just a different format.
And the same story from Computerworld.
Read an article by Paul Graham. Being a software architect, and in particular the architect for our system, the thing that hit me the most was his discussion about writting a language that the user/developer can use to "hack the system."

Got me to thinking about our system, and what our developer's use to hack it. Our system is very configurable. The developer's write their rules in CLIPS and they configure the system with our configuration files (for the most part). The configuration file is more than just a data file and it allows things like includes, macros, etc... but it is still a pretty weak "language". Again, stronger than a data file, but still pretty weak. CLIPS on the other hand is a pretty strong language. So I started thinking... the system would be stronger if the developer could actually hack the system, with the language they used to developer their system! Its just kind of natural. If you are trying to get something done in the system, and you have to do it in CLIPS, then wouldn't it be natural to also use CLIPS to get something done on the system?

Anyway... started looking at a particular piece I'm working on now. Have been coming up with the BNF of how to configure this particular piece... and changed my whole view based on the above. I'm now looking at configuring it with COOL (CLIPS Object Oriented Language). More powerful, easy to extend, can do all kinds of extra things if needed via the rules, and natural. Given the developer's already code using CLIPS, then explaing how the configuration is done isn't necessary.

And not only does it make sense (at least to me), but it is also fun to play with something new and check out COOL. We've looked at it before, but never done much with it. As with all of the CLIPS APIs, interacting with it from C++ is very straight-forward. 

Very cool stuff (no pun intended). I'm glad I read the article. Thanks Paul!
Televised war
You just have to be amazed at the TV coverage... or at least I'm amazed. Yeah, there is quite a bit of just "filling air time", but still. This morning I was watching them discuss the Predator and their control center. They have GPS on every unit and person. And with the Predator they can see what is coming. So they have real-time info coming in on exactly what the battle field looks like. Kind of like a big video game (which has its disadvantages - one being someone may forget there are real people). But the amount of information they get. Wow. And although we are getting a sanitized (and some one say propagandized) version of it, hey we are still getting something. It will be interesting to watch the coverage over the next few days.

How bizzare... sitting at home, watching the clock tick down, seeing the reports come in. War just isn't what it used to be. Kind of feels like watching the ball fall on New Year's eve.

Another interesting note this morning. There was someone on from the "American Islamic Movement" or something like that. Anyway, a woman who was in Iraq during Desert Storm. Talking about how much the *people* were glad we were there, and were hoping that we would be taking Saddam out. They were in open revolt and took 13 of 18 providences (something like that). This time they will be more cautious, she said. They'll wait for the ground troops to make sure we are actually coming in.

Anyway... I think sometimes people feel we are being the bullies, and forget what he has done (and is still doing) to his people. That it isn't all about oil and us, but that we are actually going to be helping free these people. Well... so much for my political insight...
And winter rages on
2nd day of the storm. Yesterday a few people went into work, though most of them stayed home and worked on line. Disadvantage of being hooked up is that you can't really say "It was snowing, I couldn't make it into work", since hey - all you have to do is log on. But that is also an advantage!

It really was pretty much like being at work. People on the bbs and irc. Talking to people @ work, at home, getting stuff done.

I didn't even bother trying to go out... though I might today. Go to Blockbuster's and get a few more movies, and maybe some Half-and-half for the coffee... since Tina has used it all up on her ceral. Ceral and Half-and-half - comfort food!

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Spring is in the air... for a minute
Spring was in the air yesterday, walking out to the car after work. Light rain, crispness, new grass and bulb shoots breaking through the surface. You could smell spring. First time this year.
This morning the worse snow storm in a number of years has hit and we are back in the middle of winter. Well, it was nice for a minute. Actually, the moisture will hopefully help improve the drought!

Friday, March 14, 2003

Ender's Game Movie!
And speaking of Ender's Game... it is going to be made into a movie. May not be released for 3-5 years... And here they talk about releasing a computer game based on the battle room. Cool. - Xbox please :-)
Bookshelved is a Wiki about books. Pretty cool stuff. Had this interesting quote from Orson Scott Card:
Programming is the Great Game. It consumes you, body and soul. When you're caught up in it, nothing else matters.
This was a quote from How Software Companies Die.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

NYTimes: The Ascent of the Software Civilization
In his incisive, panoramic book, "From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry" (MIT Press, $29.95), Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers all three — context, insight, even occasional humor.
Might be worth a read!
Hoax photo?
I got a mail that contained the Sunset from Space photo. I did a search to get the news source, and it showed up on a number of pages, once of them being a hoax site... I'm not sure if the picture is real or not, but it was still cool.
Just downloaded BlogWeaver's free demo. It was a link in the new "content sensative" ads. Cool. This is my first post with it. So far it seems fine!
Paul Graham: Why Nerds are Unpopular

A friend at work posted the above link on irc. Being a "nerd" and a "freak" (terms from the article) in high school, I was initally interested in the whole "why nerd" part of the article (maybe the first 2/3rds or so). In reading many of the situations I thought "Yup, that was my school." But then as I got towards the end I started thinking things like, "Exactly - why are chools like that?" and "No wonder Jaime lasted one day in school." Well worth the read, even if it is long.

A few other thoughts:
  • As I said, Jaime went back to public school and lasted one day. Not because of the work-load, etc. But because of something she couldn't even explain. I believe this article touchs on some of it.
  • Student lead youth ministries. I've been the Fusion (youth ministry @ my church) Worship Director for a little over a year now. A vision of this ministry is to be student lead, and it is very successful at being so. More and more my "rallying cry" is becoming "student lead ministry". Why is it successful? In part, I believe, due to the exact things that Paul mentions. Students are: valued, expected to do the ministry, and are treated as apprentices and given "real work" to do. This is not merely a place where we can baby-sit them and watch over them for 4 hours (a prision - to use Paul's term). This is somewhere they can be trained, learn, and DO something.

The amazing thing, to me, is that so many people don't get this. When asked, "Do you have your students do xxx", the answer is usually "no." They are: too unexperienced, not committed enough, not responsible enough, don't have enough integrity, etc. According to Paul, it wasn't always this way. Apprentices were expected to add value, and they did. I find the exact same thing to be true. In fact, because they are so bored, have no focus, etc.; they are usually MORE committed, reliable, etc. than many adults. *All* they need is someone to mentor them, expect great things from them, and then let them go DO IT.

OK... I'll climb down from my soap box now... that article just really got me thinking... Calling from the grave?

The competitor's fraud detection system misses the obvious clue. If the person is dead, then the call is probably fraudlent. ;-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

JoelOnSoftware: Building Communities with Software

Interesting article by Joel. The beginning of the article discusses why chat rooms, irc, etc. is popular. The second part of the article discusses a forum he has built (and is less interesting in a "why are such communities formed" - but may be interesting in terms of why he believes certain features are good or bad.)

Note:One site he references does contain profanity in its site name... so if you don't want to see that, don't go read the article.
Well I thought it was funny
Quote of the Day:
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail ... but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Man...that was fun."
CNN: House cafeterias change names for 'french' fries and 'french' toast
I'm all for being patriotic, but personally I think this is taking things a bit too far... Especially since "french fires" aren't even FRENCH...

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

New Auction Fraud
A friend mentioned today the latest fraud scam for auction sites. I tried to find an article on this, but couldn't. But figured it would be worth passing along anyway...

Someone sends you a (fake) cashier's check to pay for something, written for more money than you asked for (they have some lame excuse like they already had the check cut and don't want to go get another one; and they ask you to send the difference back to them). You deposit the check and send them the $ they overpaid. A few days later, the bank informs you that the check is fake.
excite: U.S. Tests Massive Bomb in Florida
USAF tests the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) - a 21,000 lb munition that was dumped out the back of a C-130.
I was just looking at my web page to find the entry on Heather when I noticed that I forgot to close an italics tag and everything past a certain point was in italics.

As an aside... I was looking for the Heather entry so I could tell my mom to click on the newsletter link. My mom and dad just got a computer and are a bit bewildered by the lingo, concepts, etc. I'm not tons of help... seeing as this is kind of my first language and I forget that not everyone understands "browser", "url", "copy&paste", etc. But very cool that they have one and are starting to figure it out! And my mom signed my guest book... so hey, she is surfing some! :-)

Monday, March 10, 2003

Just do it
A key to blogging (at least for me), is to just do it. Take the recipe blog for instance. I've got several recipies that I've posted here before, and quite a few that people have asked me for and that I have at home. I could start my blog by getting the template set just right and seed it with all those recipies. Of course that would take a fair amount of time and it will probably be a while before I have the time to sit down and do all that. So... I might never start it.

Or I can just throw a template out there (even though it isn't perfect) and just start putting recipies there as they come up. And that is the approach I've decided to take.

BTW: I've also got my web page going on angle fire, which could be a better format for recipies... but I think I'll probably combine them. Putting the recipies here (in order as I come up with them), and putting old ones there, with links to the new ones here. For some reason... blogging just seems easier (which, duh - is one of the points and appeals of blogging!) that putting stuff on a web page.
Red Raspberry Glazed Pork Chops
Put a new recipe out on my recipe blog. For some reason the link to the actual entry doesn't seem to be working now... but the one to the blog will work just fine.
My Hands Are OK Today
Early last week Teresa called me to say that she was sitting at a stop light and all of a sudden felt like I was supposed to play on the worship team this Sunday. So, she called Tina (or maybe saw her in person) and passed it along. Tina and I talked about it (I'm always ready to play) and decided I would. Tina also said she felt I should get back on the worship team. Maybe not full time (with all that is going on with the youth and Costa Rica), but at least part time. Brenda Richards said something in her talk at the conference in Tulsa about supporting eachother's callings. So, I'm going to start playing once a month. (In Dec/Jan I actually played about 5 weeks in a row... but that wasn't a committment. - This is. Once a month). I'm psyched about it. It will be good to get back into it!

We also did a youth prayer retreat for Costa Rica. (Which was awesome. I'll probably post more on that on my Costa Rica blog when I get more time. If so, I'll add a link here). Bobby and Michael were in charge of worship and asked me if I'd bring my Djembe and play. (Of course!).

So... I ended up playing Thursday night (practice), Friday night... for about 2 hours!, Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and then 2 songs on Sunday afternoon for a leadership meeting we were having. Great stuff! It was awesome.

Friday night, Bobby, Michael, Scott and I went into about 15 minutes of free praise. Bobby and Michael started this guitar rif that was really... I don't know how to explain it, but I just went off on the Djembe. When it was all said and done my hands were pretty red and my one finger was bleeding a little... but hey, that is how you know you were getting into it. ;-) It was awesome.

It felt great to play that much!

Friday, March 07, 2003

Slate: Google's Memory Upgrade.
Very interesting look at the possible benefit of the Google accquisition of Blogger.
Nerd alert
I hate when I put my shirt on backwards and don't realize it until I'm at work.

Hopefully it isn't going to be one of those days!

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Browswer specific pages
I hate browswer specific pages. Sometimes it is subtle... but sometimes it just shows up as clicking a link and having nothing happen... 'cause it just won't display it Mozzila. Is the IE-only feature you are using really that important... Sigh...
Yeah, and like that was good for my blood pressure
Sitting at Academy and Austin Bluffs, west-bound heading to work. I'm in the front, right hand lane (which will eventually end). Guy next to me. We take off and he is going pretty quick, so I decide rather than try and pass him, I'll just let him go and I'll pull in behind him. So I ease up some. After a few blocks, I look over and he has pulled to the left hand lane and is actually accelerating pretty quick. But I'm *sure* I was going under the speed limit.

We move another block and I glance in my rear-view mirror and there is a motorcycle coming up on me pretty quick. Wow... he looks like he is in a hurry... are those... Argh... red & blue lights. I figure I'm toast. I was probably going over the limit and now I'm busted. Sigh... and then he pulls up behind me, yup - I'm in trouble. But I can't pull over cause the traffice is pretty tight. Now he is pulling up along side me... to tell me to pull over. I'm hosed.

Then he moves in front of me, pulls up behind the other guy. Then next to him. Gets him to roll down his window and tells him to pull it over.

Sigh of relief... Well... he WAS going faster than me. Still, I guess I better watch my speed. That was NOT a fun way to start the day.

[BTW: I know Tina would say, "Well if you weren't speeding you wouldn't worry about that." I think I still would. There is just something about flashing lights behind you that gets the blood pumping... at least for me!]

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Kids are cruel - or honest ;-)
From a co-worker:

I've been teasing Sam that I'm really Spiderman. So, via IM I get this: My wife got Sam a Spiderman alarm clock to help wake him in the morning . . one that plays the theme song. Sam says, "See, that's not daddy cause this guy's tummy is flat." Kids are cruel.
It is winter
Note to self: If it looks like it is going to snow... don't wear a t-shirt and light vest to work...

Brr... walking out to my car in the snow and 12 degrees was a little cold yesterday!
Heather, my niece, is in New Zealand! She is down there with YMAM. She just sent me a newsletter, and I figured I'd post it on the web, in case anyone who follows this and knows Heather wants to check it out.

As an aside... I needed a place to put the image, and Tif said creating a web page on AngleFire was pretty easy... so I gave it a shot! Right now my home page there is pretty out of date... (I just cut in some old stuff I had lying around), but I think I'll start updating it (since I don't have enough to do! har har). So... rather than using blogspot and blogging for everything, I'll use a combination of blogspot for journal type entries, and maybe slowly move my "static" information over to AngleFire. We'll see. :-)

But it was a very easy way to get Heather's newsletter out there!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

A bit of a long story... but made everyone at work crack up.

So... I've been listening to "96.1 MOTHER, Rock that really RAWKS" lately, off and on. Every once in a while they'll play something from Ozzy. Jaime has never heard him, and when she see's his Pepsi commercial on TV she always says something like, "He can sing? He can't even talk." So... I'm heading home yesterday, Ozzy comes on, and I call Jaime and tell her to turn on 96.1 and listen. "He isn't going to sound like you'd expect."

So I get home and she says she listened and he did sound a lot different. End of story... so you'd think.

So... every morning I wake up to Jaime playing the piano. She has this CD that she recorded of Christmas Carols. Very nice to wake up to. The sound is kind of quite, so I have to turn the, CD player/radio/alarm clock, all the way up.

Fade to this morning
5:00 AM - alarm clock comes on and, you guessed it, 96.1 MOTHER, Rock that really RAWKS. Full blast 5:00 AM. Yanked me right out of my sleep... I'm pounding the alarm trying to get it off, and finally do (but must have just interrupted it for a minute). 30 seconds later it is blaring again.

Wow... but hey, it did get me up. No falling back to sleep with that.

An amazing thing is that Tina, who wakes up if a fly walks up the wall, slept right through it.

The price you pay to give your kids some culture. ;-)
So much to say
So much trivial/random stuff rolling around in my head. :-) Its hard keeping up with the blog. Well its not like I have to enter stuff here... but there are a number of things I think about adding, but just don't have the time. It is cool having multiple blogs (recipies - which I just started, this one, FusionWorship, etc.), but that makes just that many more topics I'd like to post things about... oh well.

In a side note, my folks got a computer and Mom started emailing me. Very cool! :-) She is very frusturated with it right now, but she'll get used to it, and then it will be very cool!

Monday, March 03, 2003

I'm still here
Friday was another lay-off at work. We lost 2 more people. My team wasn't hit. Its starting to get pretty hard. Asked if this was the last one, someone said, "You'll know we are done with lay-offs when they start highering again." Good point! So... there will probably be more, but I'm trusing God with my job and just not worrying about it. Still, it is hard to see good people go.
Its good to get away
I'm back in the Springs. I figured while I was away I would a) work part time, and b) blog quite a bit. I did do some work, but hardly blogged at all. I guess sometimes it is good to just get away... even if that means disconnecting from the computer. Had a pretty relaxing time, and it was cool to be at the conference. Although this was a "pastor's conference" it was on leadership, and some of it just makes plain sense, regardless of the setting. So, some of it will actually come in handy for work. Cool!

Tif never did make it out, which was a real drag. :-( But she might be flying out in Mar, which would be very cool.