Friday, December 30, 2005 - 23 dogs killed by toxic dog food - Dec 30, 2005

Contaminated dog food which was sold in 23 states killed nearly two dozen dogs and sickened 18 more, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

How much espresso is too much?

Me: I'm on my way home.
Jaime: Are you going to stop and get me Starbucks?
M: Yes
J: Horray for me!
M: Yeah - I just need to decide if I should get a drink or not. I just had a Triple Venti Carmel Macchiato with Jeff. That's 3 shots and this would be another 2.
J: Hmm... then in her best little girl voice Well it IS vacation!

Turns out - 5 shots in two hours is NOT too much when "it IS vacation". Of course, we'll see how late I'm up tonight. ;)

Impulse Buying

Went into Whole Foods to get ingredients for Curry Chicken, stopped at the display out front and tasted their BBQ ribs... I spent probably 30 minutes at least there - looking at salads, tasting cheese, looking at flowers.

I left with BBQ Ribs.

Hi-Tech - sort of

Jaime is in her pjs, watching the big screen TV. She's got PIP (Picture-in-Picture) going, splitting the screen in half. On one half, Judge Judy. On the other half, Pac-Man.

20 years after Pac-Man came out, we now have the techology to play it on a $5000 TV at the same time we watch Judge Judy. :)

Holiday movies - the best and worst experiences

Went and saw two movies this holiday season. King Kong and The Chronicals of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I thought Kong was excellent and Narnia was pretty good. I've never read The Chronicals, so maybe it would have been even better had I read it first. In any case, this post isn't about the movie, but about the experience and has nothing to do with the movies. (other than my quick critique above.)

Kong: We went an hour early and ended up at the back of the line just as they were opening for seating. We couldn't find 4 seats together; other than the very back or very front, so Tina and I sat together (in seats 3 and 4) and Jaime and Michael sat in seats 1 and 2 in front of us. After sitting there for a few minutes, Tina looked over at the lady on the end of row and asked, "If you don't mind, do you think you could move down one row, that way the four of us could sit together?" The lady gave her a rather pained look, so Tina said, "Well you don't have to. I was just asking." to which the woman replied, "Oh... then No." Sigh.

So then Jaime noticed that the row they were sitting in was occupied by them, a large family and then three empty seats at the other end. So after much "You ask them - no you ask them" going back and forth, Jaime (the introvert - way to go kid!) got up her nerve and asked, "Would you guys mind if we got up and you moved down one, then our entire family could have the four seats at the end." The mother looked up and down the row and then replied, "Sure" as she and several kids got up. Looking down at her husband she said, "Come on lets move" to which he replied, "No." She said, "What?" and he replied, "This is EXACTLY the center and I'm NOT moving from my seat." To which she just looked kind of dismayed and then sat back down.

Jaime got this total look of disbelief on her face and just turned and looked at us like, "Can you believe this?" to which Tina replied, "Its the holiday season. What did you expect?"

A few minutes later the mom looked up and down the row again and told some of her kids to switch seats, to which the dad replied, "Fine. But I'm not moving". So one of the kids switched ends and we were able to move down and sit all together. We told the woman thanks much, etc. But for the next several minutes and probably the rest of the day, Jaime just kept saying "I can't believe that guy wouldn't move ONE seat. I just don't get people."

Narnia: Jaime and I decide to go to the 10:20 AM show. Shouldn't be too many people there, should be easy to get in. Yup on both counts. But turns out that the 10:20 movie is the "kiddie" movie. (Something to keep in mind in the future). We get there and there are 3 women and probably... 15 or so 4 and under kids with them. Can you say Nightmare! We get popcorn, etc. amidst lots of "Do you think they are coming to see Narnia? Probably. No, maybe they are coming for something else. Yeah... not likely." When we get to the theater, the 3 adults have them all linedup and are trying to keep order. "Billy, stay in line." "Tommy, keep focused and move when the rest of the line moves." We are standing there along with some other adults, all with horrified looks on our faces. The "group" heads left, and the woman behind me says to her husband, "Stage right?" and he replies, "Yeah", and so we wall cut to the right entrance and go to find seats.

As we are going in, I notice that the "group" is heading to the very back. So Jaime and I get seats, with 3 moms and 6 kids in front of us, a few adults and a 3 year old to the right, and many kids sprinkled here and there throughtout the theater - with the "group" all across the back.

We are fifteen minutes early, so I spend the next 15 minutes alternating smiles and frowns at the 3 year old little blonde girl next to me - who isn't quite sure what to make of me. She alternates back either a straight face or a frown. I find I can get her face to go straight by smiling or looking away - the quickly look back and frown, at which point she will frown too. Great fun - I can't wait for grand-kids. Jaime totally believes that at any point she will start screaming or her mom will catch me and we'll get asked to leave - so I quit. Meanwhile, adults are making trips back and forth getting booster chairs for the "group".

We are a little worried about the quality of the movie experience - given we are worried that there will talking, worrying, etc. all through the movie. We are plesantly wrong!

The "group" was extremely well behaved - at least from what we could tell. No talking, crying, etc. And not many of the other kids around us made noise either. Once in a while some kid would let out some exclamation - which actually just added to the experience. Nothing like the wonder of a little kid caught up in make believe letting out a squel or whatever when something unexpected happens. Or when the table rock splits in half and the little kid in front of you - who has been quite the whole time, yells out "What the heck!!!" :)

My admiration for whatever day care, mother's group, or whatever it was that showed up with 15 kids, 3 adults, for a 10:20 AM movie - and where the kids behaved so well the entire time. It was great to see - and put some faith back that not all little kids in large groups are out of control. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

THE Bowl Game

The 2005 Alamo Bowl game, Michigan vs. Nebraska, is going to start in 20 minutes. Sandwhich materials (ham, salami, pepperoni, turkey, tomates, onions, lettuce, banana peppers), dip (guac), potatoe salad and Cream Ale mixings (1/2 and 1/2 and Vernors) are all ready. The phone calls to Lana (and Dominick) have been made.

All is ready. Now need to just make the drinks, put the food together, and get ready to watch UofM beat Nebraska's butt. :)

Probably the only bowl game I'll watch - seeing as this is the only one that is important. ;)

Update: Michigan lost the game. :( 32-28. As Michael said in a comment "stupid refs". The refs did a really bad job, costing MI two timeouts and 10 seconds at the end of the game. Perhaps MI could have done sometihng with that, had the had it. And an obvious pass interference call that should have been made. Regardless - the Cornhuskers did a good job coming back, so I'll tip my hat to them for that. Maybe next year... The last three MI bowl games Jaime and I have watched, they have lost. Sigh.

And one more thing.

Someone asked in a comment on my Christmas Service post why I still attend and lead worship at ICC. I responed there.

(BTW: To be technically correct - I don't really *lead* worship, although I do lead people in worship. But I'm not the worship *leader*. Just one of my anal word things... which mostly comes up at work. LOL)

But one more thing... If you believe you have a personal relationship with God (which I do) and if you go to a church that believes in that, then the topic of what church to go to, where to serve, when is it time to leave, etc., etc. comes up in a lot of discussions and sermons. The normal answer is "You should serve where God tells you to serve." He knows how he wants a "body" formed (i.e., who He wants in which church, who will help further a church, etc. etc.), and He knows where he wants you placed. So you should go where He wants you to go - and stay there until He wants you to leave, gives you peace to leave, or whatever.

And when people leave they will frequently used the "God Card" - "I've got peace to go" - to which there is reall no answer - because you can't usually argue with someone when they say "God told me its what I'm supposed to do." - Unless it is something totally unscriptural, but leaving a church doesn't really fall into that category.

So - is God telling me to stay or to go? Well - I believe He is telling me neither. (And yet another soul bearing disclosure on the internet - blogging - how weird.)

I've left church's a few times. In one instance I "heard" as clear as I could that God was telling me to go. I was asking Him about something and He said, "Well why don't you just go to this other church?" Ironically enough, it had never occured to me until He suggested it. It wasn't something I was struggling with. I was just thinking about things. Other times its been some family issue that has caused me to leave a church.

A few times I believe that God has told me, "Do what you want. I love you - I always will. Which church you go to isn't going to come between us." I've gotten the feeling that He doesn't think I belong in a certain church, but because He understands me way better than I even understand myself; He knows how hard it is for me to change. And so He isn't rushing me. He's just letting me know that no matter what I do - it isn't going to effect our relationship. And that if I stay, He is ok with it (even if He doesn't think it might be the best for me), or if I go - He'll help me find a new place He'd rather see me at. But he isn't going to push me. And that is they way (even when He said "Well why don't you go to that other church?") He has always interacted with me. Gently. Never pushes too hard. Just helps me along.

So that's where I'm at right now - for those that care (and I can't imagine that many people find this all that interesting. But I blog it anyway. I'd rather read some funny blog personally...) I'm weighing the options. Looking at pros and cons. Trying to listen to God and see what He wants me to do. And if I decide to go - getting the "oourage" or whatever to go talk to someone about it.

Until I make a firm decision - I probably won't say that much more about it; other than when someone asks - which is what prompted this reply.

And again - even though everything on the public internet is out there for "everyone" to read... I don't think of these entries are so much as being a public critique of ICC. I think of them more as *me* working my issues though with a particular church - and a particular place in my life, at this point in time. No church is perfect. Every church has something to offer someone. The point is to find one where you think you are supposed to serve. Where your needs can get met, and you can offer something in return. Where it is a win-win for everyone. And that is the issue I'm having right now. Is ICC that place for me. Not whether anything is wrong there, or any person or person's are bad, etc. I've never left a church because I thought the church was "wrong". I've just felt (for whatever reason) that it was no longer the place for me.

Which is a reason for not serving and just hanging out at a church. The less involved you are, the less you have to deal with these issues. Because it is just somewhere you go on Sundays. But I've never been that kind of person - especailly because I always want to serve on a worship team.

But I'm starting to ramble now...

Popular Front: SnowDays

This is pretty cool. I added a snowflake with my name. Its kind of cool to just sit and watch all the snowflakes. Something you could do as a kid with paper and scissors, now you can do on the internet. :) Over 1.8M snowflakes. The things you find on the internet. :)

Tax Scam Preys on Refund-Hungry Public with Real Gov Site

Tax Scam Preys on Refund-Hungry Public with Real Gov Site: "The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about a phishing scam that uses promises of tax refunds to steal sensitive financial information.
Phishing scams are getting more sophisticated.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

In Search of the Spiritual - Newsweek Society -

In Search of the Spiritual - Newsweek Society - "Seventy-five percent say that a 'very important' reason for their faith is to 'forge a personal relationship with God'—not fighting political battles.

Today, then, the real spiritual quest is not to put another conservative on the Supreme Court, or to get creation science into the schools. If you experience God directly, your faith is not going to hinge on whether natural selection could have produced the flagellum of a bacterium. If you feel God within you, then the important question is settled; the rest is details."

Good quote, and when you get right down to it, how I feel. I've been having some long discussions (as noted previously) with an atheiest friend, about ID being taught in school. And this is why I've been having the discussion - because to me, having a personal relationship with God is what is important; not whether or not he is taught in school. And I think that if more Christians would worry about the former, and not the latter - that not only would they do better, but they would spread the light better as well.


Family is starting to wake up (I hear some stirings upstairs). While I was waiting, I downloaded all the pics off the camera - so I'd have room for today.

I posted a number of them to my photo blog. To see them all start here and scan back thru all the photos posted today. There are some from the last day on Mackinaw Island, last few days at Pat and Wards, and then some Thanksgiving pics.

I can't believe everyone is still asleep

Its 6:30 - I've been up for 2 hours, and Tina and Jaime are still asleep.

Wow - Jaime must be getting older. When she was little she'd never sleep this late on Christmas. Of course she is almost 19 now... but in many ways (especially at Christmas) she is still just a little kid... But not when it comes to getting up at 6:00 I guess.

Guess I'll go back to surfing, email, etc. until they are up.

Christmas Services

Strangely enough (or perhaps not so strange), I find that I often do not like to participate in Christmas Services. I'm not alone in this. For some worship team members (and perhaps others), a Christmas Service is less about worship and more about performance. In many of my experiences, caroling (which is done by almost all churches that I've been apart of) is not something loved by many worship teams. And thus, we usually start very late practicing, which leads to stressful services. Additionally, the service is way more of a "performance" and way less worshipful. As one person said, "This is the one time of year some people come to church, and rather than having a great worship service, we do Christmas carols. What's up with that?"

I went to two services this year, one at ICC (where I was on the worship team) and one at NCF - where I was a visitor.

ICC's wasn't too bad. There weren't a lot of people there when we started (so we held off for 10 minutes while Michael just played Jaime's keys for a while. That boy can play - without any training or anything... another discuss someday perhaps). In any case, we started after 10 minutes and still many people weren't there. Partly could have been due to the snow, and partly because we had to do it on the 18th and maybe people just weren't in the Christmas spirit yet. In any case, it went OK. But it didn't seem all that worshipful - but that could have just been me.

NCF's Christmas Eve Service was awesome. A couple things. 1) In my recent experience with NCF Christmas Eve Services - they aren't done by the worship team. Which might be a good thing. That way the people that are doing the songs, etc.; are very much into it. They signed up for it. They wanted to do it. 2) Its always like a family reunion. Especiaclly this year, since we haven't gone for probably 4 years or so. So saw lots of folks we hadn't seen forever, lots of little kids that are not much more grown, etc. The format was very nice. A mix of carols, worship songs, and "memories" of Christmas' past, all discussing the love, spirit, etc. of Christmas and showing God's love. Cool stuff.

Very interesting to me though, seeing it from one side or the other. I guess when I'm worshipping, I want it to be worship type music, and when I'm participating in a Christmas program then I'm cool with it being just that... a Christmas program. I've done that at NCF before - where we did special music as part of the program - and that was cool. Its all a state of mind I guess - and what is the goal, etc. Something I need to keep in mind in the future....

In any case, NCF was very cool. It was nice to see how the church has grown. And it was great to see everyone I haven't seen for so long.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Get a move on girl

Whole Foods is packed. I mean, people waiting in line to get food samples, aiales jammed, packed. And the store is laid out artistically in spots, so there are places where essentially 3 "lanes" will come together at once.

I'm waiting to move into a lane when this guy is coming towards me with his daugther pushing the cart and an older woman in front of them. The girl kind of stalls looking around at people, etc.

Dad: Come on girl, git a move on. Get a move on girl, you're blocking traffic.

The elderly woman hurridly pushes her cart forward and off to the side and turns with a startled look on her face.

Dad: Oh... I'm sorry, I was talking to my daughter, not you. "Come on. Get out of my way.", he snarls, and then grins and gives a big hearty laugh.

Christmas shopping... its a blast! :)

And another thing that would have helped if I had known earlier...

So Jaime and I are cleaning the house, because Tina is at work, we are off and this way we don't all have to do it tomorrow on Christmas Eve.

So I'm vacuuming (dyson vacuums RAWK) and the container is kind of getting full so I figure I'll empty it. I look at various buttons and figure how to get the canister off the vacuum, but not how to open it. I take it upstairs to Jaime.

Me: Hey, do you know how to open this?
J: taking it and messing with some buttons Not really. I don't think I've ever done it before.
Me: Takes it back, spots another button near the top, and holding the canister downward and gripping one handle, push the button - at which point the bottom pops open and the contents shoot out in a nice big gray pile of dust, etc. into the middle of the bedroom floor.

Jaime and I turn and look at eachother like this --- :-S

J: Live and learn

High Altitude Baking Instructions

So I'm making some scones this morning, from a mix. Never done it before - and although I cook quite a bit, I don't bake all that much.

Step 1: Drain fruit and set aside.

Step 2: Blend water and mix

Step 3: Kned dough 6 times

Step 4: Form

Step 5: Cut and put on pan

Step 6: Bake

And then a few lines down from there...

High Altitude (over 5,000 feet): Add 2 taablespoons all-purpose flour and additional 2 tablespoons water. Prepare as directed.

OK... WHO WROTE THESE INSTRUCTIONS? Obviously not an engineer... Things after step 6 are LATER than step 6, not before.

This is the second things I've baked while on break where the high altitude directions were at the bottom of the instructions. You'd think I'd learn...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - Judges ask tough questions in evolution sticker case - Dec 16, 2005

: "Jeffrey Bramlett, arguing for the American Civil Liberties Union and parents, cited the book's author, Kenneth Miller, who testified it would be misleading to say evolution is not a fact"
And there you go... Evolutionists don't want ID or Creationism taught "because it's not a fact" - but when someone says evolution is just a theory, they respond with "no - its a fact". Well it isn't. If both sides would stop taking such a hard stand and teach both sides... and let the kids decide religous questions for themselves, things would be much better. IMO. - Toobin: 'A very important precedent' - Dec 20, 2005

"TOOBIN: Including President Bush. And President Bush last year said very clearly that he thinks there should be alternatives to evolution taught, that he thinks -- as many of the supporters of intelligent design say -- you should teach the controversy. But those people suffered a real blow in the courtroom."
And I don't see what is wrong with teaching the controversy. If not in science class, then perhaps in history, government (or whatever a political science class might be called). We are so into showing all sides of the story, into discussing the controversies of the past, and of keeping students up-to-date on current events, etc. But this can't even be taught as a controversy? I think this is just the pendulum swinging the other way... My 2 cents. - Judge rules against?'intelligent design' in science class - Dec 20, 2005

"'Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact,' said the statement that the old school board approved in a 6-3 vote in October 2004. 'With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind.'"
And as long as students are indeed encouraged to keep an open mind, and are told that there are alternative theories, then I'm cool with that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

F u t u r e M e . o r g

What to send an email to yourself in the future? You can by usingF u t u r e M e . o r g. I haven't actually done it, but it looks easy enough, and they say that won't spam you.

Google Gmail Power Tips from ExtremeTech

Google Gmail Power Tips from ExtremeTech: "This article is an excerpt from the upcoming ExtremeTech book Hacking Gmail. This Chapter shows you how to accomplish keyboard shortcuts, plus addressing, filtering, and advanced searching in Google's slick email service."

Plus Addressing combined with Fitlering was something I hadn't heard before. I use Fitlering already, but this could make it even more useful... Specially when you think of making a different email address for every vendor registration. That way you can see where the junk mail is coming from. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wired News: Lyrics Dustup Ends in Apology

"A music publisher has issued an unusual mea culpa in the digital copyright wars, apologizing over legal threats that led a software programmer to pull an application he'd written that automatically scours the web for song lyrics."

While Ritter now appears to be free of legal woes, ad-laden websites that offer unlicensed lyrics and guitar tabs will soon be under attack.

Beginning in January, the Music Publishers Association, of which Warner Chappell is a member, will begin pursuing a campaign against 5 to 6 such companies, according to MPA CEO Lauren Keiser.

I know a number of guitar players that pull guitar tabs - might be harder to do soon... - Foxlife - 'West Wing' Actor Dies of Heart Attack

"LOS ANGELES — John Spencer, who played a tough and dedicated politico on 'The West Wing' who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 58."

Rockin' on without Microsoft | Newsmakers | CNET

Sterling Ball, a jovial, plain-talking businessman, is CEO of Ernie Ball, the world's leading maker of premium guitar strings endorsed by generations of artists ranging from the likes of Eric Clapton to the dudes from Metallica.
But since jettisoning all of Microsoft products three years ago, Ernie Ball has also gained notoriety as a company that dumped most of its proprietary software--and still lived to tell the tale.
Some great quotes. A very good read on using Linux in a business environment, as opposed to Microsoft. - Fun USB Drives - Gallery

USB Drives from Japan. Most of these are drives that look like sushi. How cool. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MCI Signs Five-Year Global Managed Networking Services Contract With ABN AMRO Worth EUR 500 Million

AMSTERDAM and ASHBURN, VA, USA, December 14, 2005 -- MCI (NASDAQ: MCIP) today announced that it has signed a five-year global network integration agreement with ABN AMRO to manage their global data network and firewall platforms. The value of the contract is EUR 500 million (approximately $550 million) over five years.
Cool. We pick up a $550M contract, and I work on some of the software that helps support that contract. Not customer facing stuff - but still, its always cool to support something that is being used in this kind of thing. :)

Tabs working - also VPN

I got my tabs working. Turns out I did have an extension installed, which probably didn't work with the latest version. I removed the tabs and now my previous problem is gone. Of course my tab functionality isn't nearly as good as it was before - but it is functional - which is most important. Maybe in the future I'll try and find the extension again and install the latest code.

And VPN is working. Woo Hoo. :) I got in, read irc logs and downloaded my email. After weeding through the stuff I don't really need to read - I only have 60 emails left to look at. :-S - But given its after midnight, I think it will wait till tomorrow. This is why I check email on vacation though. If I waited 3 weeks - well it just wouldn't be fun. Probably a few thousand email to wade through, with 500 or so to read. Maybe more. Yuck.

All in all things are going pretty good. A few things to blog tomorrow... but too tired now. Hmm... and Christmas shopping to do tomorrow - so maybe the blogging will have to wait till Thursday. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shoot me now...

I woke up at 6:00 this morning... this whole "I can sleep in because I don't have to go to work or do anything specific today" thing as not caught up with my brain yet. So - I'm up at 6:00 - what should I do? Since I still can't get into work because my VPN is down, I can surf my work email or catch up on irc logs (something that is still making me nervous or whatever) - so I might as well catch up on my personal email, read some blogs etc.

Getting a bit bored with that (I have mail ADD) - I decide I should check and see if Mozilla has an upgrade. Been a while since I've probably upgrade. It does - so I upgrade Mozzila and Chatzilla. I get the traditional Mozilla warning of "You'll have to reinstall 3rd party packages" - no biggy - I don't use many... I think.

So I've now reinstalled BlogThis - but where is the little blogger symbol? Ah, yeah, that was off the Google Toolbar... but apparently it only works for Firefox now. Sigh. OK. Well I really like it, but I can live without it, as BlogThis should work good enough and I don't use the Google Toolbar for much else.

And then I realize NONE OF MY "Open in new tab" FUNCTIONALITY IS WORKING. Sigh. I can't middle click and have a link open in a new tab, I can't right click and click on "Open Link in New Tab" or "Open Link in New Active Tab" - and I use this functionality HUNDEREDS of times a day. I'm finding out just how often I use it, not that it doesn't work.

I've messed with the preferences, and I can't get seem to get it to work. This is really annoying.

I'm off to do some googling and see if I can figure out how to fix this. Wish me luck...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Man Apologizes After Fake Wikipedia Post

"NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man who posted false information on an online encyclopedia linking a prominent journalist to the Kennedy assassinations says he was playing a trick on a co-worker."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Study: Google users wealthier, more Net savvy | InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-06 | By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Study: Google users wealthier, more Net savvy | InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-06 | By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service: "The longer people have been using the Internet, the more likely it is that Google will be their search engine of choice, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. Internet users conducted by investment banking and research firm S.G. Cowen & Co. LLC."

Makes sense. That's what I use. :)

Vacation Starts

Its Satudray and I'm "off work" for the next 23 days - no setting my alarm clock for over 3 weeks...

And I'm up before 5:00 anyway - just because, and I'm on my computer - and my VPN connection to work is not working... so no email, no code reviews, no checking irc logs.

This could be a very long 3 weeks...

Friday, December 09, 2005

southpaw: Baby Got Book

A friend sent me this link. It cracked me up. This is great. :)

Official Google Blog: A cure for the common inbox

Google integrated an RSS feed into Gmail. If you read the post, and the read the "Links to this post" at the bottom; you'll see quite a few people saying how easy it is, just a "featurette" not a feature, that it sucks, etc.

Personally I don't get it. I like it... But then I'm not a big RSS person. I do have an RSS feed integrated into Mozilla - but I don't use it much. Having DefectiveYeti's RSS feed at the top of my gmail, and perhaps some other bloggers, where I can scroll through it seems cool to me. But I like integrated stuff where I don't have to go to another window, etc.

Maybe I'll check out Google's RSS Reader - but for now, Google Clips seem like something easy to customize into my gmail window and provides me with some functionality. So again, I think it is cool...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Case researchers discover methods to find 'needles in haystack' in data

Case researchers discover methods to find 'needles in haystack' in data: "A Case Western Reserve University research team from physics and statistics has recently created innovative statistical techniques that improve the chances of detecting a signal in large data sets. The new techniques can not only search for the 'needle in the haystack' in particle physics, but also have applications in discovering a new galaxy, monitoring transactions for fraud and security risk, identifying the carrier of a virulent disease among millions of people or detecting cancerous tissues in a mammogram."

The paper that is discussed also posted, in pdf.

Very cool stuff. Especially the application to fraud and security risk detection... Have to think about that some.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

evhead: Odeo version Next

Ev's post on Odeo. Interesting... I'm not much of a speaking kind of guy, but I'll have to look into it more. I have listened to a few podcasts, and the though of being able to create and share your own for free - just like Blogger/Blogging, is interesting...


Yesterday was the first major "its really winter now" work day.

Wind whistles mightly in the chimmny
I grab my laptop and step out into the garage
The door opens as I head toward the back of the jeep
Sun shinning, snow blowing across the driveway and swirling into the garage
I button the top two buttons of my coat, securing it around my neck to keep the warmth in
Throwing my laptop in the back of the jeep I head to the mailbox, latest Blockbuster movie in hand
Small particles of snow bite my cheeks and the neighbors gray trash bags are slowly blown down the street
Throwing the movie into the mailbox I grab the bags and push them down in the trash can to secure them from the wind
Turning back towards the garage, the snow bites again and as I shake my head I feel my frozen hair slap against my coat
I jump in the Jeep, leather cold, and turn on the seat warmers

Driving down the street, sun shining, snow blowing, seat warm, face still tingling and hair starting to thaw
I think about how much I like the first days of winter

And then I get to the intersate

Traffic backed up, everyone moving slow
The sun has not done its job yet
The road is icy with hard ruts in it
I put the Jeep in 4 wheel drive

Cars in the right lane are looking for an opening
Seeing one they shoot forward into a small space,
Causing the cars in the left to hit their brakes
Anxious and nervous, the van in the right lane carefully moves along at 25,
Causing everyone in the right to snake around them
I join the snake and am safetly past the van, continuing on, looking for other obstacles

Garden of the Gods is no better
Heavy traffic, some fast, some slow, rutted lanes and slush
Cars doing 45, cars doing 25
3 lanes of traffic - most of the time
The steet lines are covered
Two wheel drive cars nervously proceed down the street,
Attempting to cut the lane into thirds - and fail - taking their third out of the middle
The lanes go down to two and traffic backs up
Anxious four wheel drives try to make it to work
Hitting a turnoff lane, the road opens back to 3 lanes
We take our third out of the middle of the right lane and the turn off lane
Snaking around the car - we continue on
The road opens up and we proceed to work

Stepping out of the jeep at work, snow swirling, wind whislting, neck tense
I think about how much I like driving to work on the first days of winter,
Not so much

Monday, December 05, 2005

Growing pains for Wikipedia - page 2 | CNET

Growing pains for Wikipedia - page 2 | CNET "Thus, to avoid future problems, Wales plans to bar anonymous users from creating new articles; only registered members will be able to do so. That change will go into effect Monday, he said, adding that anonymous users will still be able to edit existing entries."

  • Drag that they have to do that - although barring anonymous users just means you have to register - which isn't hard and isn't uncalled for. At least that way your "name" is on the article.
  • Given taht anyone can still edit - I'm not sure how it addresses anything. If I can edit it, I can replace it with whatever I want. Of course, assuming it works like MoinMoin, someone would be able to easily revert the entry and/or see what chang was made.

All in all, I'm not sure if this will really do anything, or is just meant to appease those who don't understand it better. Unfortunate.

Moving into vacation mode

I'm at work this week, then "off" until next year. 3 weeks off. Woo hoo. I love my job, and work most weekends and will probably work some while I'm off - but it will be cool.

Most likely I'll do some reading, watch some movies, play Xbox, learn LISP, work on my office (tidying up), work on the basement (tidying up) and do some major cooking. Jaime and Tina only have one week off, so there will be two weeks where I can just be home by myself and play "wife". Cook everyone breakfast and send them off to work, figure out what I'm going to make for dinner and have a hot meal fixed when they get home. It will be a blast. :)

And before I get my head chewed off for saying "wife" - I know a wife is much more than that and lots of wives might not even cook. Its just my June Clever role while everyone else is at work. :) It will be cool to not have to stop on the way home and pick stuff up, but go out shopping for whatever I feel like and cook something up.

At least that is the plan right now. Many times I have a similar plan, but over the course of 3 weeks I get more and more unmotivated about "working" at anything and just decline into hanging out. But I figure with 3 weeks - I should be able to get some stuff done on my "to-do" list. Cooking for sure. Xbox for sure. And hopefully some tidying up.

And I'm already moving into that mode - but I guess I still have one week left, so I should really head to work.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Teach them to think

Thinking about my final comments on the previous post, maybe enlightning was the wrong term to use... maybe evangalizing would be better. I believe in many cases it is a schools job to present many different viewpoints, to explain what is going on politically, socially, culturally, etc. (depending on the class). I think survey type courses, where you get a little info on many subjects is a good thing. I just don't like it when a particular point of view is pushed to hard as the "correct" view, etc. This applies in many classes.

Explaining why someone might think a particular programming language is ok, as long as it isn't pushed as *the* only programming language to use. And this holds especially true in many of the soft sciences, etc.

Some of my best soft science classes were a philosophy of ethics class where the instructure did not push his ethicial viewpoint, but we read many philosophers and our tests consisted of eassays where we would answer ethicial questions, saying which philosopher's viewpoint we held to in addressing the question, and why. There were no "right" and "wrong" answers, the grades were based upon how much you understood the material and how able you were to express yourself in those terms. Very fun class because it made you think. Another similar class was a political science class on current events, where again, the instructor had a particular view point and expressed it, but it was not the "correct" answer. It was just a viewpoint. We spent quite a bit of time in class discusses viewpoints, etc.

I think schools would do better to cause students to think, then to try and foster certain social, political, cultural viewpoints upon them...

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I just finished reading two editorials in the Woodmen Edition, a sort of "small town" newspaper for our area of Colorado Springs. It usually has some good editorials so I always check them out. This week the two were:I'm not sure the article links will last more than a week (as they seem to be relative), but if really interested they should be archived for a while...

The Suzanne Fields article discussed an event (party) at Colubmia University where all the participants must be naked. It goes on to discuss sexualism on other campuses, and basically the sorry state of affairs on many campuses.

Froma Harrop's article discusses a prediction by Peter Drucker, where he said that the modern university will disappear in a few decades; being replaced with the internet, online classes, recordings of lectures, etc.

To a certain extent - a "home school" college eduation - to use an analogy. We home schooled both our kids (or for the majority of the time they home schooled themselves). While it has many positive aspects, the major complaint I had against it, was not the quality of the education (it seems sufficient - or maybe even better than public school) or the lack of socialization (Jaime led a very active social life without it); but my major complaint was the classroom interaction. One of the things I enjoyed about college (depending on the size of the classes) was the interaction. Thinking about things and discussing them. I was 25, married and had 1 child - with a second born my senior year - so I was far less interested in social things (other than of course UofM football :)); than probably the majority of students. But I really enjoyed the class room. And when I got my master's I felt the same way. The "campus" was at MCI and consisted of the same group of students working on their mastors (starting with 12 I think and down to about 6 by the end of the class). While much smaller than most campus classes, this still allowed us to exchange ideas.

I know with things like wikis, irc, etc. - it is possible. But I still feel there is no substitute for actually sitting together and discussing, or working a problem, etc. I realize the benefits of on-line classes (you can work them when you want, you can have a full time job and still go to school, etc.) - and I haven't really participated in any - so don't know what kind of "interaction" they offer. And maybe I'm just old-fashioned. But I'd hate to see them disappear. And I don't see how they can, as not everything is "book learning" as they say.

Interesting though that one article is on how universities won't be around in the future, and another one is complaining about things that have nothing to do with learning at another. Maybe if schools got back to teaching, and aways from enlightening (at least in some areas); they'd be better off...

A lot going on lately - I think I'm in a reflective stage. :)

The Literature Page - Read classic books by famous authors online

The Literature Page - Read classic books by famous authors online:
"The Literature Page is your place to read classic books, plays, stories, poems, essays, and speeches online, brought to you by the creators of The Quotations Page. Our collection currently includes 233 works from 85 authors. We add new titles regularly."
How cool.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day from the Google "home page":
Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist
There are other great Emerson quotes on that page as well. This one is perhaps a bit ironic:
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.


"The Colorado State Patrol has added an alarming new policy banning the biggest bicycle events in Colorado! Their new policy limits bicycle and triathlon events to 2,500 riders, but this limit can be lowered at any time putting every event at risk. Bicycle tours, races, charity rides, group rides, and triathlons are all affected. "
I'm not a bicylist, but I still signed it. I know plenty of people who are, and when I used to go to church at NCF - they always supported the Emily Griffith Center Road Ramble every year. Outdoor events are a big part of what makes Colorado, Colorado.

According to this post on the Bicycle Colorado site, the cap is delayed until 2007. I think it is still worthwhile to sign the petition though.

Friday, December 02, 2005 - A false Wikipedia 'biography'

I had heard for weeks from teachers, journalists and historians about 'the wonderful world of Wikipedia,' where millions of people worldwide visit daily for quick reference 'facts,' composed and posted by people with no special expertise or knowledge — and sometimes by people with malice.
Comment in an article by John Seigenthaler on a Wikipedia 'biography' that claimed he was suspected of being involved in the assassination of JFK.