GDT::Computing::Bits::Archive::Year 2009

Computing::Bits
A Short Film About Trillions
A conservatively named short film by MAYA Design.

Vimeo.com::Trillions

[29 December 2009, top]

Exponentials R Us
Ed Lazowksa "holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. His research and teaching concern the design, implementation, and analysis of high performance computing and communication systems."

I agree with Ed Lazowska's "few things to watch" over the span of the next decade.

Xconomy.com::Exponentials R Us: Seven Computer Science Game-Changers from the 2000', and Seven More to Come

[28 December 2009, top]

IT Failures Are Costly
Information Technology (IT) failures are costly and it was interesting to see somebody actually try to quantify the cost of IT failures.

ZDnet.com::Worldwide cost of IT failure: $6.2 trillion

[28 December 2009, top]

C++ More Green Than PHP?
I admit I didn't spend any time looking at this, but if I had the time I'd try to digest the following.
   "If C++ would have been used instead of PHP, then 22,500 [Facebook]
    servers could be powered down (assuming a conservative ratio of 10 
    for the efficiency of C++ versus PHP code), or a reduction of 
    49,000 tons of CO2 per year."

Developers.Slashdot.org::The Environmental Impact of PHP Compared To C++ On Facebook

[26 December 2009, top]

Being Branded a Nerd Has To Become a Good Thing
The following is sad, if true.
   "But not enough young people are embracing computing -- 
    often because they are leery of being branded nerds."

A young person is not going to create the next Google, the next eBay, the next Napster, the next Facebook, the next Twitter, if they don't learn about computing science.

Note: I equated CS with Computing Science, not Computer Science.

NYTimes.com::New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs

[26 December 2009, top]

Women in Computing Still an Issue
This posting was created from the following tweet received on 2009.12.18.
   @GuyKawasaki: Geeks turning women off of Computer Science 
   http://om.ly/dHJD
This is new news which is old news.
   "When people think of computer science, the image that 
    immediately pops into many of their minds is of the 
    computer geek surrounded by such things as computer 
    games, science-fiction memorabilia and junk food," 
    said lead researcher Sapna Cheryan, an assistant 
    professor of psychology at the University of Washington. 
   "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't 
    like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

LiveScience.com::Geeks Drive Girls Out of Computer Science

[18 December 2009, top]

Bob Metcalfe Added To The GDT::DreamTeam
Bob Metcalfe was the Fall 2009 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

During the fall 2009 semester, I watched a Bob Metcalfe lecture about the Enernet that he gave during July at the Singularity University and I started following him on Twitter.

Prior the last class session of the fall 2009 semester, I was getting ready to add J. Storrs Hall to the DreamTeam, but then I received a tweet that contained a hyperlink to "brain scan" article by The Economist on Bob Metcalfe. [I suspect Hall will be added to the DreamTeam during the spring 2010 semeseter.]

   "Bob Metcalfe has grabbed opportunity at every turn in his multiple 
    careers--ever since he invented Ethernet at the age of 27"
    [source: Economist.com]

Economist.com::Beyond the ether

GDT::DreamTeam::Thurman's Favorite Computer People


Bob Metcalfe continued...

YouTube.com::Bob Metcalfe discusses the Enernet [SingularityU.org July 2009]

The following are Bob Metcalfe tweets that I posted during the fall 2009 semester.

   .@BobMetcalfe's #Enernet ? RT @FCC: Chairman Genachowski: 
   "Smart energy grid & broadband are cousins."    
   12:22 PM Nov 30th   from HootSuite  

   RT @BobMetcalfe GREEN wrong energy "movement" color. Not 
   cause green=greed, but cause green=new red. Use BLUE 
   http://bit.ly/30YSU7
   8:05 AM Nov 5th   from HootSuite  

   "The best vehicle for technology innovation is not patents, 
   it's students."~Bob Metcalfe #enernet talk @singularityu    
   8:29 AM Nov 1st   from HootSuite  

   #SmartGrid gets federal funding. #SingularityU YouTube channel 
   "Bob Metcalfe discusses the #Enernet" http://ow.ly/xixc
   6:36 AM Oct 29th   from HootSuite  

   I'm 1/2 way thru it & it's good. SingularityU YouTube channel 
   "Bob Metcalfe discusses the Enernet" http://ow.ly/wAru
   7:20 AM Oct 26th   from HootSuite  

Hmm... While I was adding Bob Metcalfe to the GDT::DreamTeam, I received "1 new tweet" and it was...

   BobMetcalfe SiOnyx (Black Silicon) board in Beverly, MA: 
   photodetectors, image arrays, and solar power. Laser 
   processing for quantum efficiency.

[17 December 2009, top]

Ray Kurzweil is a 21st Century E.F. Hutton
In this millennium, Ray Kurzweil is an E.F. Hutton.
   "As we approach the end of the first decade of the new millennium, 
    let's consider what life will be like a decade hence."

Kurzweil is correct to ask us to consider the following.

   "Consider that Facebook started as a way for Harvard students 
    to meet each other just six years ago; it now has 350 million 
    users and counting."

Nobody can predict what's going to happen within the next femto-second, but it's fun to try.

   "Specifically what can we expect? Solar power on steroids, 
    longer lives, the chance to get rid of obesity once and for 
    all, and portable computing devices that start becoming part 
    of your body rather than being held in your hand."

A decade is a century in this this millennium because this is the era of exponential growth.

   "[...] the exponential growth in the power of information technology, 
    which approximately doubles for the same cost every year."

NYDailyNews.com::Top futurist, Ray Kurzweil, predicts how technology will change humanity by 2020

[17 December 2009, top]

Power of the Internet: DARPA Network Challenge
The DARPA Network Challenge of 2009 ended up providing a powerful example of the Power of the Internet.

The following was copied from the NetworkChallenge.DARPA.mil homepage.

   "To mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet, DARPA has 
    announced the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that 
    will explore the roles the Internet and social networking 
    play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, 
    and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, 
    time-critical problems."

    "The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of 
    10 moored, 8-foot, red, weather balloons at 10 fixed locations 
    in the continental United States. The balloons will be in 
    readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roads."

The following are tweets that tweeted or received related to the DARPA Network Challenge.

DARPA Network Challenge is a great Power of the Internet example. 
MIT wins in less than 9 hours http://bit.ly/5kdAZ1
8:20 AM Dec 6th   from HootSuite  

MIT Red Balloon Team wins DARPA Network Challenge http://bit.ly/5kdAZ1
{1 balloon near my school, but I didn't find it}    
8:08 AM Dec 6th   from web  

DARPA Network Challenge has begun. I'm on the MIT Red Balloon 
Challenge Team: http://balloon.media.mit.edu/nanofoo/ #li    
8:41 AM Dec 5th   from web  

I joined the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team: 
http://balloon.media.mit.edu/nanofoo/
7:42 AM Dec 4th   from web  

The balloon launch is tomorrow 2009.12.05 
https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/default.aspx @DARPA_News    
7:24 AM Dec 4th   from HootSuite  

NetworkChallenge.DARPA.mil::Network Challenge

[09 December 2009, top]

Learning About Google Wave
A student asked me "what's Google Wave?" My response was homina, homina, homina. A day later, on 4 December 2009, there was a posting to the Phoenix Linux Users Group offering invites to Google Wave and I got one. Without reading anything about Google Wave, I brought it up and immediately had a homina, homina, homina, moment. A few days, Dan Bricklin tweeted the following.
   "I'm finally trying out Google Wave. I'm using it to work 
    with another developer on a project, share URLs & comments 
    & such. See how it goes."--DanB 2:41pm 2009.12.08

Wave.Google.com::Communicate and collaborate in real time

[09 December 2009, top]

Computer Science Education Week
In 2009, December 6th through December 12th was CS Education Week.
   "Computer Science Education Week recognizes the transformative 
    role of computing and the need to bolster computer science at 
    all educational levels."

Note: I support switching Computer Science to Computing Science.

I started following @CSEdWeek on Twitter.

YouTube.com::ACM CEO John R. White on CSEdWeek

[08 December 2009, top]

Yet Another ENIAC Reminder
The following was "Useless Knowledge" seen on my iGoogle.com homepage on 2009.12.04.
   "ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. 
    The original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, 
    had 17,000 tubes. By comparison, a desktop computer today 
    can store a million times more information than an ENIAC, 
    and is 50,000 times faster."

Note: ENIAC's birthyear is 1946, which in 2009 was 63 years ago.

The following tidbits were copied from ComputerWorld.com's "lost" interview with J. Presper Eckert (the co-inventor of ENIAC).

   "The ENIAC also used five of the accumulators, controlled 
    by a special Divider/Square-Rooter unit, to perform up 
    to forty division operations per second or three square 
    root operations per second."

As of mid-November 2009, the world's fastest supercomputer could do 1.759 petaflops (i.e. 1.759 quadrillion floating-point operations per second).

   "Well, a person with a paper and pencil can add two 10-digit 
    numbers in about 10 seconds. With a hand calculator the time 
    is down to 4 seconds. The Harvard Mark 1 was the last of the 
    electromechanical computers -- it could add two 10-digit 
    numbers in 0.3 seconds."

The supercomputing roadmap: 20 petaflops by 2012; 100 petaflops by 2016; 1000 petaflops by 2019.

ComputerWorld.com::Q&A: A lost interview with ENIAC co-inventor J. Presper Eckert

[05 December 2009, top]

An Interview With Donald Knuth
Title of this posting sounds a bit strange: "Donald Knuth: Geek of the Week." How cool is this... Knuth was born on 10 January 1938, yet he is still make geek-of-the-week lists.

Richard Morris does a nice job describing Knuth as a "man of engaging charm and enthusiasms who combines a knowledge of history, music, art and mathematics with a unique insight into the art of computer programming."

I consider Donald Knuth a modern day polymath.

Simple-Talk.com::Donald Knuth: Geek of the Week

[01 December 2009, top]

Put That Database In Memory
Tweet received from @programmingjoy on 2009.11.17...
   Put that database in memory #programming http://bit.ly/133e35

I did that once (put a database in memory) and it worked great. It was a Unix-based system and I took advantage of shared memory, semaphores, message queues and "off-hours" processing time.

[17 November 2009, top]

Newmark Joins Wikimedia Foundation's Advisory Board
Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist) was the Summer Break 2009 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.
   "Craig's experience as an innovator and evangelist, coupled 
    with his knowledge of online communities and cultures of trust, 
    will make him an invaluable adviser to the organization," said 
    Michael Snow, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. 
   "His deep understanding of customer service and his dedication to 
    fostering an enormous and engaged community of users will be a 
    tremendous asset as we strive to be responsive to our readers 
    and volunteers."
GDT::DreamTeam::Craig Newmark Added To The GDT::DreamTeam

[15 November 2009, top]

Google Likes Sesame Street
For an entire week Google has been morphing its logo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street.

GoogleBlog.Blogspot.com::Happy 40th birthday Sesame Street!

[10 November 2009, top]

Who was Fred Cohen?
The first episode of Sesame Street aired on 10 November 1969. Fast forward 14 years...
   "1983: Fred Cohen, a University of Southern California graduate 
    student, gives a prescient peek at the digital future when he 
    demonstrates a computer virus during a security seminar at 
    Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. A quarter-century later, 
    computer viruses have become a pandemic for which there's 
    no inoculation."

Wired.com::Nov. 10, 1983: Computer 'Virus' Is Born

[10 November 2009, top]

Top CS Schools In the World
Top CS schools in the world?
   (1) Stanford          (2) MIT             (3) UC-Berkeley
   (4) Carnegie Mellon   (5) Princeton       (6) Cornel
   (7) Texas at Austin   (8) Toronto         (9/10) Caltech
   (11) Harvard          (12) Illinois       (13) Wezmann Inst. (Israel)
   (14) Maryland         (15) UC San-Diego   (16) Michigan

   Arizona State (ASU) is in the 52-75 range.
   University of Arizona wasn't in the top 100.

ARWU.org::Academic Ranking of World Universities in Computer Science - 2009

[09 November 2009, top]

Treat Engineers as Kings?
I wrote the following in a Computing::Bit on 27 July 1999.
   If you have an ethically grounded SysAdmin that can keep 
   systems simple, open, secure, efficient, and maintainable, 
   then you have yourself a good one. Keep them happy and 
   show them some respect. 

Fast forward to 26 October 2009...

Ken Auletta posted an article that dicussed "10 things Google has taught us" and "thing" number five was " treat engineers as kings."

   "Innovation, as Bill Campbell told The McKinsey Quarterly, 
    comes when 'the crazy guys have stature, where engineers 
    really are important.... empowered engineers are the single 
    most important thing that you can have in a company.'"

Money.CNN.com::10 things Google has taught us

[27 October 2009, top]

Facebook a Leader in Social Networking Informatics
HotJobs.Yahoo.com had a posting about "12 Jobs That Didn't Exist Until Recently." One of the jobs had to do with nursing informatics and the job title was "Informatics nurse specialist."

20th century data processing is morphing into 21st century Informatics thanks to supercomputers and clusters of computers (e.g. 30,000 servers). Facebook is becoming a world leader in social networking Informatics.

DataCenterKnowledge.com::Facebook Now Has 30,000 Servers

[14 October 2009, top]

It'd Be Fun To Take Kernighan's COS109
The following was copied from Brian Kernighan's "Computer Science 109, Fall 2009: Computers in Our World Home Page" at Princeton University.
   "I won't absolutely prohibit the use of laptops in class 
    unless they become a problem, but I would be most grateful 
    if you could use computers and phones for course-related 
    activities like following the notes, rather than for email, 
    chat, YouTube, Twitter, Google, solitaire, poker, eBay, 
    Facebook, or similarly compelling distractions."
    --Brian Kernighan

CS.Princeton.edu::COS 109, Fall 2009: Home Page

[08 October 2009, top]

Martha Stewart Follows Tim O'Reilly On Twitter
Turned on the TV to watch some news and the Martha Stewart show was on. I watched it for a few minutes. One of Martha's guests lamented about having only 5,000 followers on Twitter and she wanted some of Marth'a followers. Martha comment that she had about 1.5 million followers and pointed out that people pick who they want to follow.

Later that day, during my "CS for Non-CS Majors" class, I was discussing how Twitter was becoming a $1 billion company thanks to additional private funding. I mentioned that Martha Stewart had 1.5 million followers so I visited Martha's Twitter account.

   39 Following      1,474,093 Followers     690 Tweets

A person's Twitter home page displays tiny images of 36 of that person's followers. On Martha's home page, I noticed images of Tim O'Reilly (and Warren Buffett).

I sent Tim O'Reilly a tweet sharing this Twitter moment with him and he replied with the following tweet.

   timoreilly @nanofoo Yeah, @marthastewart and I actually have 
   a DIY connection because of @make. She's been to SciFoo too!

[28 September 2009, top]

STEM Should Be CSTEM
I've been advocating replacing STEM with CSTEM because 21st century STEM depends on Computing.

It was refreshing to see that the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) recently submitted comments on the federal government's Race to the Top Fund to "make sure that computer science education receives the same level of support and attention as other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines."

USACM.ACM.org::Putting Computing in Education's Core

[07 September 2009, top]

5 College Majors On The Rise
The following headline from Chronicle.com came as no surprise.
   "Five College Majors on the Rise; Growing fields include 
    service science, health informatics, computational science, 
    sustainability, and public health."

Chronicle.com said "computational science uses mathematical modeling and computer simulation to solve complex problems in business, technical, and academic research."

I don't know what "service science" is... I guess it's Google time.

Note: "Sustainability" has to be strongly dependent on computational science and various forms of informatics.

[06 September 2009, top]

The Birth of the Internet
2 September 1969 was a significant day in the computing world because on that day machines at U.C.L.A. exchanged "messages." Many people considered this event to be the birth of the Internet. [Note: 29 October 1969 is also considered the birth of the Internet.]

I tweeted the following on 2 September 2009.

   I was 12 on 9/2/1969. "The Birth of the Internet" by 
   Leonard Kleinrock at CS.UCLA.edu http://bit.ly/owp9G

If somebody had told me in 1969 that computers had exchanged messages my response would have been something like... What's a computer? Want to play baseball?

"It all began with a comic book!" is how UCLA's "The Birth of the Internet" essay begins.

The comic book was Superman and Kleinrock, while reading the comic book at age six, "found plans for building a crystal radio." In other words, "an engineer was born."

"The Birth of the Internet" essay ends with... "From a comic book to cyberspace; an interesting journey indeed!"

CS.UCLA.edu::Leonard Kleinrock's Personal History/Biography The Birth of the Internet

[02 September 2009, top]

Computer History Museum Photo Gallery
I have never visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, but I hope to get there before I die.

PCauthority.com.au::Computer History Museum Photo Gallery

[29 August 2009, top]

Computing Related Video Clips For CSC100
The following are YouTube video clips that I am planning on playing during the first week of the fall 2009 CSC100 class. CSC100 is Computer Science (CS) for non-CS majors. My experience is that on day one of class almost every student knows about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but they have never heard of computing gurus such as Doug Engelbart, Ken Thompson, Bill Joy, Richard Stallman, Larry Wall, David Filo, Larry Page, and so on.

[17 August 2009, top]

CS Should Stand For Computing Science
There is some discussion going on about changing the title "Computer Science" to "Computing Science." This makes sense to me and I support making the change.

[17 August 2009, top]

SMU Professors Should Try Teaching Naked
I am 52 years of age and I have never done a PowerPoint presentation (although I have snoozed through a few that were given by others).
   "College leaders usually brag about their tech-filled 'smart' 
    classrooms, but a dean at Southern Methodist University is 
    proudly removing computers from lecture halls. Jose A. Bowen, 
    dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, has challenged his 
    colleagues to 'teach naked' -- by which he means, sans machines."

I don't want to "teach naked," but I do want to continue living a life free of PowerPoint.

Chronicle.com::When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom

[20 July 2009, top]

Google and IBM Report 2Q'09 Results
Google and IBM reported 2nd-quarter 2009 results on 16 July 02009. Note: 2nd-quarter (April 1st-June 30th) 02009 took place during the "worst economic recession since the great depression."
Google ($442.60):
Capital expenditures:  $139 million (IT infrastructure)
R&D: $707 million
Free cash flow: $1.47 billion.
Cash (& equivalents):  $19.3 billion  ($0 debt) Current ratio: 8.9
Income taxes: $388,497,000  (20% effective tax rate)
Employee count:  19,786 (down from 20,164 three months ago) 
* I have to believe Google has more employees than it needs

IBM ($110.64):
Free cash flow: $3.4 billion
R&D+Expenditures:  $1.4 billion
Cash (& equivalents):  $12.5 billion
Income taxes: $1,159,000,000  (23% effective tax rate)
IBM reported that the it "returned $2.4 billion to 
shareholders through $732 million in dividends and 
$1.7 billion of share repurchases."

I suffer from the "ignorance is not bliss" affliction every femto-second, but what will Google and IBM accomplish when we're not in the "worst economic recession since the great depression?"

[18 July 2009, top]

Keeping an Eye on Andreessen Horowitz
Marc Andreesseen and Ben Horowitz has been a winning duo for almost two decades; therefore, I going to try to keep an eye on what their new venture capital firm is up to.
   "I have seen the future and it works." - Lincoln Steffens
   [found at the top of Marc Andreeseen's blog]

Blog.PMarcA.com::Introducing our new venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz

[11 July 2009, top]

Craig Newmark Added To the GDT::DreamTeam
Craig Newmark was the Summer Break 2009 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam. I don't know why it took me ten years to add Newmark to the DreamTeam, but better late than never.

I searched my Learning About Computing website for Craig Newmark and the oldest item was a CPSR Report #1 posting to the MOTD on 15 October 1999.

   The first panel featured Scott Hassan of www.eGroups.com, 
   Pavel Curtis of www.PlaceWare.com, and Craig Newmark (recently 
   featured in Time magazine) of www.craigslist.org speaking on 
   the challenge of following socially responsible goals in an 
   industry drowning in venture capital.

   [...]

   Craig Newmark, a hard core Java and Web programmer, started his 
   website to help "establish a community of people helping each other 
   out with everyday, real world stuff, via the Internet." It is a 
   non-profit operation and does not subject visitors to banner 
   advertisements. The website receives money by charging people 
   who post "for sale" ads. There are numerous VC who want to give 
   Craig money because they want to place banner ads on his popular 
   webpages.

Newmark was mentioned in 12 March 2005 Internet Observer posting.

   Craigslist was a smashing success in the San Francisco Bay area 
   during the early day of the dot-com explosion. These days numerous 
   communities have a "craigslist." In addition, its creator -- 
   Craig Newmark -- continues being one of the "good" guys. 
   Quote from Newmark: "Trust people, and be trustworthy."

Newmark again made the Internet Observer on 6 July 2006.

   I took a peek at some of the names involved in the 
   SaveTheInternet.com coalition and came across the 
   following: Lawrence Lessig, Craig Newmark, David 
   Isenberg and David Weinberger.

   "We live in a democracy and we need something like this controlled 
    by the people in the country, giving everyone a fair chance, not 
    just a few people with a lot of money."--Craig Newmark

   "We're just motivated by the same values we all learn in Sunday 
    school or the equivalent. The Golden Rule and that it's more 
    important to help people."--Craig Newmark

The 2 May 2008 Interent Observer had the following posting.

   Craigslist was found by Craig Newmark in 1995. In 2008, Craigslist 
   is worth "several billion dollars."

   According to BusinessWeek.com, eBay owns approximately 25% of 
   Craigslist, which was news to me.

   BusinessWeek.com::Inside eBay's Quest for Craigslist

I think we're going to be hearing a lot from Craig Newmark over the next few years.

[16 June 2009, top]

FlowingData.com--The Rise of the Data Scientist

It's all about the data and turning it into information.

FlowingData.com::Rise of the Data Scientist

[04 June 2009, top]

More About Jean Bartik
I wonder how many K-12 girls ever get introduced to Jean Bartik?
   "Jean finished her course work [at Northwest Missouri State 
    Teachers College] in December 1944, and she was under a lot 
    of pressure to teach school because all the high schools were 
    crying for math teachers. Her calculus teacher knew she wanted 
    to get out of Missouri so she brought her an ad from one of her 
    math journals seeking math majors to work at the University of 
    Pennsylvania, but for Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground. 
    She applied and was hired in March of 1945. Their titles were 
    'computers' with a sub-professional rating for the grand salary 
    of $2,000/year with $400 more for working Saturdays. At that time, 
    women weren't given professional ratings." [source: NASA.gov]
   "During the Q&A session, one audience member asked: 'If you were 
    working today, where would you want to work?' Without hesitation, 
    Bartik replied 'Google!' with a huge smile. Googlers in the 
    audience cheered."
    --Kathy Kleiman, Founder, ENIAC Programmers Project
   "I was just at the right place at the right time. It was divine 
    providence or fate that selected me to be an ENIAC programmer. 
    Betty Holberton quoted something interesting recently, 'Look 
    like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, and Work like 
    a dog.' I was told I'd never make it to VP rank because I was 
    too outspoken. The next generation would have more finesse than 
    I. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping 
    women in their 'place.' So, let's make that place the executive 
    suite and start more of our own companies." -- Jean Bartik

GoogleBlog.Blogspot.com::Jean Bartik: the untold story of a remarkable ENIAC programmer

On 27 December 2009, Jean Bartik will celebrate her 85th birthday.

NASA.gov::Space::Frontiers::Jean Bartik

[30 May 2009, top]

BASH as a First Programming Language
The question "What makes a good first programming language?" is a frequently asked question.

I say BASH, but only after learning how to use a Unix system via the command-line along with a text editor.

Why the command-line?

Learn about the Unix philosophy because the philosophy applies to all aspects of computing.

   + Write programs that do one thing and do it well.
   + Write programs that work together.
   + Write programs that handle text streams, 
     because that is a universal interface.

Learn about basic computing objects such as files, directories, directory structures and the importance of using consistent naming conventions.

Learn about command options (altering the default behavior of a program) and arguments (inputs to a program).

Learn how to read manpages (outstanding documentation).

Learn about file and directory permissions (computer security).

Learn about I/O streams (standard input, standard output and standard error) and I/O re-direction and the powerful pipe operator (the output of one program is used as input to another program).

Learn about variables by using environment variables (name/value pairs).

Learn about regular expressions using shell meta-characters.

Learn to search files using grep and locate files using find.

First programs...

   0) Write a program that prints the phrase "hello, world"
      followed by a newline to the standard output stream.
      $ echo hello, world <ENTER>

   1) Write a program that prints how many users are logged
      into the system.
      $ who | wc -l

   2) Write a program that prints the phrase "hello, world" 100 times.

   3) Take a sequence of command-lines that are executed over and over
      and place them into a file.  Change the permissions on the file
      making it executable and install the file into a directory that
      is on your PATH. Run your program (command).

[30 May 2009, top]

WolframAlpha: Computational Knowledge Engine
I posted this to my AzFoo at AzCentral.com blog on 16 May 2009.

In a nutshell, Wolfram|Alpha is 21st century Informatics at the tip of our fingers.

Wolfram makes is perfectly clear that it's not search engine; it's a computational knowledge engine, WolframAlpha uses supercomputers to do knowledge-based computing and their "long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone."

[Extra]

On 13 May 2009, I sent the following as an email message to the Math/Science email distribution list at SCC.

From IBM's Watson to Wolfram|Alpha...

http://www.research.ibm.com/deepqa/
http://blog.wolframalpha.com/

[16 May 2009, top]

Oxymoronic Phrase? Women in Computing
I posted the following to my AzFoo at AzCentral.com blog.

Oxymoronic phrase? Women in Computing

June 1st of 02009 will mark my 30th anniversary of being a computing professional. Back in 01979 there was a strong push to get more women interested in computing and this push had a modicum of success. However, over time, I think the "women in computing" push has lost its momentum. One tiny example: Earlier this week I sat in on a computer science class at a private high-school and all eight of the students were males.

In 01997, I was hired by Scottsdale Community College to help expand its computing program. I was asked what could be done to increase computer enrollments and I remember saying: If we had one female student for every male student, we'd double enrollment. [Side-bar: At SCC in 02009 we have virtually zero students (male or female) learning about computing.]

In a nutshell, "women in computing" remains an oxymoronic phrase.

My posting prompted the following comment.

   "Maybe in academia.  Over the last ten years I've noticed a huge 
    increase in women in engineering and other computing positions."

And I replied to the comment with the following.

Thanks for the comment. You may have observed a "huge increase," but that's not consistent with many of the numbers. Here is just one tiny example: The number of female students entering computer science fell by 80% in 02004 from 01998 levels. Not all students who enter a program graduate and these days most successful computer companies don't hire computer professionals unless they have at least an undergraduate degree in something. I do believe that more women entered into the computing profession during the dot-com speculative period (01995-02001), but I believe that momentum (trend) has stalled (reversed).

Bottom-line: I hope you're right and I am wrong; and that "women in computing" is not an oxymoronic phrase.

[03 May 2009, top]

IBM Creates Watson To Play 'Jeopardy'
The hyperlink contained in this posting was obtained from a tweet by Mitch Kapor (@mkapor).

IBM has created a system named Watson and Watson is part of IBM's goal to "get computers to be able to converse in human terms."

NYTimes.com::Computer Program to Take On 'Jeopardy!'

[27 April 2009, top]

Military Informatics?
TIGR is the Tactical Ground Reporting System and it is a "multimedia reporting system for soldiers at the patrol level, allowing users to collect and share information to improve situational awareness and to facilitate collaboration and information analysis among junior officers."

TIGR is part of DARPA's Advanced Soldier Sensor Information System and Technology (ASSIST) program and it is currently in experimental use in Iraq.

Military informatics?

Radar.OReilly.com::Where 2.0 Preview - DARPA's TIGR Project Helps Platoons Stay Alive

[21 April 2009, top]

Cloud Computing Headline Mentions Teenage Sex
Nothing beats a good title/headline/subject-line and Cloud Computing Magazine suckered me into clicking one of its hyperlinks. You'll have to decide if you want to click it.

CloudComputing.Ulitzer.com::Is Cloud Computing Like Teenage Sex?

[19 April 2009, top]

Aneesh Chopra is CTO of the U.S.
Obama has selected Aneesh Chopra to be Chief Technology Officer of the United States. I'm disappointed Obama didn't select one of my three recommendations (Vinton Cerf, Dennis Ritchie, Bill Joy), but I'm optimistic that Obama's choice of Chopra will be a good one.

Obama says Aneesh Chopra "will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities -- from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure." Chopra's government experience (he's been categorized as a "venture governmentalist") should help make a tough job slightly less tough.

I knew nothing about Aneesh Chopra; therefore, I am grateful to Tim O'Reilly for sharing with us his thoughts as to why Chopra will be a great CTO for our country.

Tim O'Reilly posted: "Chopra demonstrates a deep understanding of the idea that the government is an enabler, not the ultimate solution provider. From the list of initiatives above, you can see that Chopra grasps the power of open source software, Web 2.0, user-participation, and why it's better to harness the ingenuity of a developer community than to specify complete top-down solutions."

Obama's choice of Chopra of CTO may be great news for the FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) movement.

Radar.OReilly.com::Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO

[19 April 2009, top]

Google Reports 1st-Quarter 2009 Results
Google reported 1st-quarter 2009 results after the markets closed on 16 April 2009. I mined the following information from Google's press release.

For the three months that ended on 31 March 02009...

   Effective tax rate: 25% (too bad it's not 15%)
   Capital expenditures: $263 million (economically stimulating)
   Free cash flow: $1,990,000,000 ($1.99 billion)
   Cash and cash equivalents:  $17.8 billion ($0 debt)
   Full-time employees:  20,164 (down from 20,222 three months ago)

Google generated $1.99 billion in free cash flow during an economic "crises," which makes me excited about what they're going to do when the economy turns around.

[19 April 2009, top]

North Carolina and Computing
The North Carolina University (UNC) has been in the news lately thanks to sports and that got me thinking about UNC and computing in North Carolina.

According the GREguide.com Computer Science rankings, UNC is 27th, while UNC's final four rival--Michigan State University--is 51st. For comparison purposes, UA and ASU are 31st and 59th, respectively. I would be beyond shocked if any of the final four players were Computer Science majors.

UNC at Chapel Hill is part of the Research Triangle Park, which puts it in close proximity to the Raleigh-based Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat is one of the world's leading open source software companies; therefore, UNC students should play a key role in helping Red Hat stay a growth company.

Although about 120 miles from UNC Chapel Hill, Google constructed and opened a server farm in Lenoir NC. Google's computers need lots of cheap, reliable, power and North Carolina has the power grid thanks to textile and furniture factories built during the industrial revolution. The server farm should provide jobs to hardware geeks and SysAdmins.

Russ Rowlett is a "mathematics educator" at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Rowlett's "How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement" is an excellent resource and it is available for free on the UNC.edu website.

UNC.edu::How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

[07 April 2009, top]

ACM Talk With Terry Winograd From 2002
ACM Ubiquity classic from 2002. An interview with CS professor Terry Winograd while he was on sabbatical at Google.
   "WINOGRAD: In some sense, the way that the Web unfolded was a 
    surprise.  I was using the Internet and FTP and Telnet 20 years 
    before the Web.  When I first saw the Web, which was pre-Mosaic, 
    I didn't find it very interesting. The first time I saw Mosaic, 
    I was surprised at how totally different the feeling was. It 
    was immediately obvious that the introduction of graphics with 
    text would make a big difference and that it was a new phenomenon. 
    But I didn't have a feel for the way it would go commercial and 
    spawn all the e-business and other companies, partly because 
    that's not an area that I ever thought about much. I was still 
    thinking of it in terms of academic computing people, which, 
    of course, didn't turn out to be its main audience at all."

ACM.org::Talking with Terry Winograd

[05 April 2009, top]

Informatics Is Data Processing On Steroids
We've been doing Informatics for a long time in the computing world. In the early days it was called data processing, then it became information processing and now it's called Informatics (information science--the study of information).

Data processing is the act (process) of converting data (zeros and ones) into "information." These days I find myself referring to 21st century Informatics, which implies the data processing is being executed by a high-performance computing system. In other words, the Informatics of today can be thought of data processing on steroids.

[05 April 2009, top]

Neil Young With James Gosling
Neil Young and James Gosling are members of my computing DreamTeam.

BusinessWire.com::Image::Neil Young with James Gosling

[05 April 2009, top]

New York Times Reports On Ted Nelson
Kudos to the New York Times for reminding us of Ted Nelson. Nelson was the first to use the term hypertext, which these days is the all powerful hyperlink.

NYTimes.com::In Venting, a Computer Visionary Educates

[05 April 2009, top]

Reading For Pleasure--What's That?
Patricia Greenfield is a UCLA distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Children's Digital Media Center, Los Angeles. Greenfield was quoted saying the following.
   "Studies show that reading develops imagination, induction, 
    reflection and critical thinking, as well as vocabulary," 
    Greenfield said. "Reading for pleasure is the key to developing 
    these skills. Students today have more visual literacy and less 
    print literacy. Many students do not read for pleasure and have 
    not for decades."

ScienceDaily.com::Is Technology Producing A Decline In Critical Thinking And Analysis?

[05 April 2009, top]

New Zealand's RandD Minister Gets It
Once again I have to share my belief that STEM needs to be changed to CSTEM. It's fine to hear Obama say math and science are the keys to the future, but math and science are the keys thanks to computing. This belief has yet again been confirmed--this time by New Zealand's minister of Research, Science and Technology.
   "R&D Minister Backs Computer Skills for All"
   --Computerworld New Zealand (02/05/09) Bell, Stephen 

   "ComputerWorld reported that Mapp believes 'New Zealand needs 
    a significant boost in its information and communications 
    technology (ICT) expertise to pull itself out of the economic 
    crisis. Mapp says improving the ICT skills of the general 
    population, and using the available capabilities of the Internet, 
    will help New Zealand extract itself from the recession.'"

I agree with Mapp's assessement.

I also agree when Mapp says, "We will need our tertiary institutions to take responsibility for this."

ComputerWorld also reported the following.

   "Mark Guzdial, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is 
    developing first-year courses in computer science for students 
    who are not computer science majors to use computer science 
    as a 'lens' through which other disciplines can be viewed."

   "Guzdial says that providing people in a variety of fields with 
    background knowledge in computer science is crucial given the 
    pervasive role computers and the Internet play in business 
    and government."

I agree with Guzdial's assessement.

ComputerWorld.co.nz::R&D Minister Backs Computer Skills for All

[05 April 2009, top]

The Anthropology of High-Tech
Powerful collaboration? Computer scientists partnering with Social scientists.
   "Big tech firms are hiring social scientists to help them 
    figure out the changing landscape."

Money.CNN.com::What Margaret Mead could teach techs

[05 April 2009, top]

The Power of the Unary Not Operator
I probably spent an entire class period going over the C code necessary to determine if a year is a leap year. I used the leap_year(yr) macro found in the source code for the Unix cal command.

If the unary-not operator is applied to a non-zero value, then it evaluates to 0, but if the unary-not operator is applied to 0, then it evaluates to 1. In C, a non-zero value is true while zero is false. Not true is false and not false is true.

[05 April 2009, top]

Learning about Pronic Numbers
What a leap! This semester (spring 2009) in the CSC100 class our first C++ program was one that prints the phrase "hello, world" to the standard output stream (although I didn't mention anything about the standard output stream). Our second program printed the first 100 pronic (oblong) numbers.

GDT::C++::Code::Pronic numbers C++ program

[05 April 2009, top]

The Open Cloud Manifesto
The Open Cloud Manifesto is "dedicated to the belief that the cloud should be open."

I looked at the list of Open Cloud supporters and as of 30 March 2009 Google was not on the list and North Carolina State was the only university on the list.

[side-bar] The following was copied from the OpenCloudManifesto.org FAQ: "The Open Cloud Manifesto is published under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License 3.0. As a result, we encourage others to build on our initial effort."

OpenCloudManifesto.org::Open Cloud Manifesto

[30 March 2009, top]

No Way Should Google Pay a Dividend
Telegraph.co.uk headline: "Google needs to grow up and pay a dividend."

I say NO WAY. Google is still a kid.

I find the following quote from BreakingNews.com humorous: "It's unclear why Google needs the money. Cash flow alone could finance most feasible acquisitions."

Google's cash flow is the envy of many, but that money needs to be piped back into the company and not distributed to the shareholders. Google shareholders will make their money when Wall Street finishes the current correction and the Internet experiences its next growth spurt.

[29 March 2009, top]

About George Boole on St. Patrick's Day
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog.

Today (02009.03.17) is St. Patrick's Day.

George Boole was born in England (01815), but 160 years ago (01849) Boole became the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, Cork, Ireland. Boole stayed at the college until his death in 01864.

George Boole is considered the father of Boolean algebra and in 02009 the power of AND, OR, NOT never ceases to amaze. Every time we use a computer, we should give thanks to the Irish.

[17 March 2009, top]

Sergey Brin Added To The GDT::DreamTeam
Sergey Brin is a second Spring 2009 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Brin co-founded Google with Larry Page in 1998.

In a speech about education, U.S. President Barack Obama said the following.

   "Investments in math and science under President Eisenhower 
    gave new opportunities to young scientists and engineers all 
    across the country. It made possible somebody like a Sergey 
    Brin to attend graduate school and found an upstart company 
    called Google that would forever change our world."

Sergey Brin was born in Moscow in 01973. His family emigrated to the United States when he was six. Brin's dad is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland and his mom is a "research scientist" at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Sergey Brin is married to Anne Wojcicki. Wojcicki is a 21st century biologist and a co-founder of 23andMe (a personal genomics company).

A couple of days after Obama's speech I posted the following to my Biotech::Trekker blog.

Sergey Brin (Google co-founder) is funding gene scans for 10,000 Parkinson's patients.

The scans will be performed by 23andMe, which was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki (Brin's wife). Just a few days earlier, President Obama gave a speech on education and he explicitly highlighted Sergey Brin's American Dream story.

These days 23andMe is charging $399 per scan, but the 10,000 Parkinson patients will pay only $25 with Sergey Brin picking up the remainder. If my arithmetic doesn't fail me, Brin's portion of the tab will be $3,740,000. Kudos to Brin!

More information can be found at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research...

MichaelJFox.org::A Google Founder's Gift: Money and His DNA

Wikipedia.org::Sergey Brin

[extra] Sergey Brin was born exactly one decade before my son Tyler was born (they were both born on August 21st) .

Update::11 May 2012

Forbes.com::Quick Take: Will Sergey Brin Cure Parkinson's? Three Lessons From His Efforts.

Update::11 May 2012

I noticed that Sergey Brin was added to the GDT::DreamTeam on a Pi Day. [see the "created" date: 14 March 2009]

[14 March 2009, top]

Kudos to Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak is 100% computing guru and last semester (Fall 02008) I added him to my Computing DreamTeam. This semester (Spring 02009), Woz is on the TV show "Dancing With the Stars."

One of the judges on the show said watching Wozniak dance was "like watching a teletubbie going mad in a gay pride parade."

Wozniak posted the following response to his blog: "I think it should be noted that Teletubbies aired for 5 years, had 365 episodes, and a #1 music single! I'd take that as a compliment."

In 01985, Steve Wozniak received the National Medal of Technology from Ronald Reagan. He is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is a Fellow at the Computer History Museum. [and this list goes on and on]

Wozniak has been quoted saying: "I had two goals in life, to be an engineer and to teach 5th grade." Kudos to Wozniak for realizing his American dream.

Karina Smirnoff, a Russian ballerina and Woz's dance partner, called Wozniak the "nicest man alive." I've never met Steve Wozniak, but I have zero doubts that there are hundreds of others who would echo Smirnoff's sentiments.

[12 March 2009, top]

Obama Mentions Brin During EDU Talk
Obama said: "Investments in math and science under President Eisenhower gave new opportunities to young scientists and engineers all across the country. It made possible somebody like a Sergey Brin to attend graduate school and found an upstart company called Google that would forever change our world."

Sergey Brin was born in Moscow in 01973. His family emigrated to the United States when he was six. Brin's dad is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland and his mom is a "research scientist" at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Sergey Brin is married to Anne Wojcicki. Wojcicki is a 21st century biologist and a co-founder of 23andMe (a personal genomics company).

[10 March 2009, top]

I Like Vivek Kundra as CIO of the U.S.
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 6 March 2009.

Title: I like Vivek Kundra as CIO of the U.S.

I like Obama's pick of Vivek Kundra for Chief Information Office (CIO) of the United States.

Vivek Kundra immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 and he is now the most important CIO in the world. Sounds like an American Dream story.

Kundra is into "disruptive technology" and this is critically important given we have a slew of disruptive computing technologies in the pipeline.

Kundra doesn't appear to be in bed with Microsoft and this should bode well for the FLOSS movement. [FLOSS is Free/Libre and Open Source Software.]

Kundra is into cloud computing. According to gurus like Vinton Cerf, the networking and securing of clouds presents the same challenges and issues that internets did back in the 1960s and 1970s. [Side-bar: Vinton Cerf would make a great CTO of the U.S.]

Kundra likes Google Apps and is pro-YouTube. Google is one of the world's leading 21st century Informatics company and Kundra's job is all about turning data into information.

Kudos to Obama for selecting Vivek Kundra as Chief Information Office of the United States. And 0110101101110101011001000110111101110011 (Unicode) to Kundra.

[06 March 2009, top]

Question to Obama: Where's Your CTO?
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 11 February 2008.
   Title:  Question to Obama: Where's your CTO?

   "Where in the World Is America's CTO?" was the title of a 
    blog posting by Kara Swisher to her "All Things Digital" 
    blog on 11 February 02009.

   I want to ask Obama the same question.

   I read a couple of days ago (Monday, 9 February 02009) that 
   Obama had "ordered an immediate 60-day review of federal 
   cyber-security efforts."  If I was going to be CTO of the 
   United States, then I'd want to be involved in these efforts 
   from day one.  Cyber-warfare has the potential of being uglier 
   than ugly.

   My opinion about Obama's choice for CTO hasn't changed since 
   I last posted about it on 16 November 02008.

My posting generated one comment and it was noise.

By the way, my CTO recommendations to Obama were Vinton Cerf, Bill Joy, or Dennis Ritchie.

[12 February 2009, top]

Aubrey de Grey Added To The GDT::DreamTeam
The Wikipedia says Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist. [Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging.]

de Grey, who was born in 1963, received a Computer Science from the University of Cambridge in 1985. Upon graduation he became an AI/software engineer at Sinclair Research Ltd. Until 2006, he was in charge of software development at the University of Cambridge Genetics Department for the FlyBase genetic database. These day de Grey is chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation.

Although highly respected, many people consider Aubrey de Grey full of himself, but I tend to agree with E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web/Stuart Little) that "genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one."

I agree with the following assessment by Aubrey de Grey.

   "There are really very important differences between the type 
    of creativity involved in being a scientist and being a technical 
    engineer. It means that I'm able to think in very different ways 
    and come up with approaches to things that are different from 
    the way a basic scientist might think." -- Aubrey de Grey

GDT::DreamTeam

[10 February 2009, top]

Cerf Talks About 'Interclouds'
Government Computer News posted an inverview with Vinton Cerf to its website on 4 February 2009.
   "A third thing, which is only beginning to become clear: This 
    interest in cloud computing is appropriate. But the question 
    is, what happens if there's more than one cloud? And how do 
    clouds interact with each other?"

Cerf believes the interfacing of clouds is similar to the Internets (a network of networks). Cerf was quoted saying: "Intercloud stuff is going to be the next decade's really interesting communications and networking challenge."

GNC.com::Vinton Cerf | Internet forecast calls for clouds

[07 February 2009, top]

Singularity U. Getting Set to Open
Singularity University is scheduled to open during June of 2009 at the NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
   "The subjects taught over a nine-week period are a menu of the 
    disciplines whose exponential advancement Kurzweil suggests will 
    overturn the world as we know it--nanotechnology, robotics, 
    artificial intelligence, biotechnology, energy, and more."

Googlers Vint Cerf, Larry Page and Peter Norvig are going to be involved with Singularity University. [Note for myself: Who is Robert Freitas? (a leader in the development of nano-robots)]

I found the following particularly exciting.

   "The campus at NASA Ames is at Moffett Airfield, just a few miles 
    down the road from Palo Alto's Sand Hill Road, a locus of venture 
    capital. Venture capitalists will be part of the faculty, and there 
    will be a 'pitch day' toward the end of the program when students 
    can try to attract funding for a proposed business."

BusinessWeek.com::Singularity U.: No Frats, Just Breakthroughs

[04 February 2009, top]

Obama Adds a Googler To His Team
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 29 January 2009 and it generated zero comments.

Title: Obama adds a Googler to his team

The Vatican has established a YouTube channel and one the first videos posted to PopeTube is of the Pope talking about the power of the Internet. YouTube is owned and operated by Google.

Barack Obama, both pre- and post-election, seeks Google's CEO Eric Schmidt for advice (both technical and economic). I've recommended that Obama recruit Vint Cerf (Google's Internet evangelist) to be Chief Technology Officer of the United States.

Yesterday, on 28 January 02009, Obama named Katie Jacobs Stanton to be his "director of citizen participation." Stanton has been a Googler (i.e. an employee of Google) since 02003; therefore, she probably excels at what she does. According to Stanton's LinkedIn profile, she is into online finance, social networks, elections, and open government.

Kudos to Obama for adding a Googler to his team.

[31 January 2009, top]

Forbes Interviews Scott McNealy
I've never was a Scott McNealy fan, but I've liked what McNealy has done since stepping down as the CEO of Sun Microsystems. Forbes posted an interview with McNealy on 26 January 2009 and I found it a worthwhile read.
   Question to McNealy:  "How did you pick who to hire?"

   McNealy's response:  "My interview process wasn't very scientific. 
   Usually by the time they got to me they were pretty talented people. 
   I would interview the person and--unless it was such a brain-dead 
   obvious decision--I wouldn't let the moment get me. I'd let my mind 
   process it while I was asleep. I'd wake up the next morning, and if 
   I was thinking about the person that next day at work, I'd hire them. 
   If I went two days, and [someone] came back and said 'What did you 
   think of so-and-so?' and I said 'I haven't thought about 'em for 
   a nanosecond. I'm not interested' [then they weren't hired]."

McNealy also likes people to say yes or no.

   "I used to beg people to answer a yes or no question with a 
    'yes' or a 'no.' If you watch any CEO ask a simple yes or 
    no question of somebody on their staff, I don't care who 
    they are, 999,999 out of a million won't say 'yes,' or 'no.' 
    They'll launch into an answer. I used to laugh and say, 
    "I'll take that as a 'no.'" or "Was that a 'yes'?" 

I agree with McNealy when he says "to ask is to seek denial" and that "the right answer is the best answer, the wrong answer is second best. No answer is the worst."

Forbes.com::McNealy: Hire Great People And Delegate

[31 January 2009, top]

General Dynamics Needs Software Engineers
I saw a posting about General Dynamics needing software engineers in a posting to AzCentral.com. The posting reminded me that I had written about General Dynamics needing workers and it turns out I authored a Computing::Bit about the topic back on 12 January 2005 (i.e. four years ago).

[31 January 2009, top]

Happy 25th Birthday To the Mac
Apple debuted the Macintosh computer on 24 January 1984. In other words, the Mac has turned 25.
   "It's amazing the Mac has lasted so long and had such a positive 
    impact on the world." -- Macintosh designer Andy Hertzfeld

I remember having one of those early Macs--I wished I held onto it. I kept a budget spreadsheet (using Excel I think) on it and I used MacWrite and MacPaint.

BBC.co.uk::Apple's first Macintosh turns 25.

[24 January 2009, top]

For IBM, Flat is Not Yet the New Up
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog.

Kudos to IBM for having a solid 4th-quarter of 02008.

IBM recorded 4th-quarter 02008 net income of $4.4 billion despite spending $1.5 billion on research/development/engineering and an almost 24% tax rate.

For the year, IBM generated free cash flow of $14.3 billion and it paid $10.6 billion to buyback its under-valued stock. The company ended 02008 with $12.9 billion in cash and 1.34 billion shares (down from 1.45 billion shares a year ago).

I'm not an IBM shareholder, but I suspect numerous investment plans own IBM stock, which should be good news for people with IRAs, 401Ks, etc.

IBM remains a great American company. Go Big Blue!

[side-bar] I last posted about IBM on 16 June 02008...

AzCentral.com::AzFoo::IBM remains a great American company

[22 January 2009, top]

Carol Bartz Becomes Yahoo's CEO
Yahoo! has hired Carol Bartz its new CEO. Bartz appears to be a respected leader within Silicon Valley. I'm okay with Bartz taking over the leadership of Yahoo!, but I was disappointed to see Susan Decker resign as Yahoo!'s President.

BoomTown's Kara Swisher stated the following: "Left to hire her own team and take advantage of the massive amount of talent that still miraculously exists at Yahoo, Bartz has every chance of reviving the company that is ripe with great assets."

I hope Swisher is correct when she says Yahoo! still has a "massive amount of talent" working for it. I have no doubt that the company is "ripe with great assets.

Bartz told the Wall Street Journal the following in 2006.

   "Learn to be an actor.  You have to learn to be confident 
    when you are not. You have to learn to be calm when you 
    are not and brave when you are not. Learn to be a cobra 
    and act until you really have that confidence."

Blogs.Fortune.cnn.com::Meet Yahoo's new CEO, Carol Bartz

[14 January 2009, top]

Healthcare IT a Growth Industry?
I posted the following to my AzFoo@AzCentral.com blog on 12 January 2009.

CNNMoney.com posted an article today (02009.01.12) that had the following sub-headline: "President-elect wants to computerize the nation's health care records in five years."

In a nutshell, Obama's plan, if acted upon, implies a dire need for healthcare informaticians (and ethically-grounded SysAdmins/computer security gurus [hackers, not crackers]) and an accelerated effort in building the cyberinfrastructure.

Despite the fact that life in the 21st century is all about processing zeros and ones, learning about computing at the Maricopa Community Colleges remains only slightly above zero.

The following was copied from the Maricopa.edu website.

   "The District is one of the largest higher education systems 
    in the world and the largest provider of health care workers 
    and job training in Arizona."

The "health care workers" they mention are not information technologists. For example, only one (Glendale CC) of ten schools is offering a "Bioinformatics and Scientific Computing (CSC283)" course and it currently has only two students enrolled (classes start next week).

[12 January 2009, top]

LearningAboutComputing.com Bytes the Dust
I have let the LearningAboutComputing.com domain name expire. The domain name was created on 1 December 2001 as part of the CSzero system, but CSzero went belly-up a few years ago.

[11 January 2009, top]

Computing Remains a Valid Career Choice
The following was from ACM TechNews.
   "The Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's ICT Skills (CCICT) is 
    hoping to increase the number of students studying information 
    technology through its new National ICT Week event. 'We need to 
    get the word out as to how the world is changing, and change 
    people's attitudes toward IT as a career plan,' says CCICT 
    executive director David Ticoll.  'In addition to being afraid 
    of the dot-com crash fall-out and offshoring, [students] don't 
    really think an IT career is competitive.  But the reality is 
    that the demand profile is changing: around 25 percent of IT 
    workers are business analysts, and those are the most in demand.'"

Time and time again I keep hearing president elect Barack Obama mention "healthcare IT."

Nonetheless, Computer Science at the Maricopa Community Colleges is virtually dead and there is zero demand for Computer Science courses at Scottsdale Community College.

ITWorldCanada.com::Get them while they're young: tomorrow's IT pros

[10 January 2009, top]

About Computing Bits
The Computing Bits blog was created on 14 September 2001 and it starts 2009 with 393 postings. Computing Bits is a blog that supports "learning about computing a bit at a time." It is a great time to live in the computing world and I am looking forward to creating some fun bits this year.

Computing Bits Archives: 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003-02-01

[01 January 2009, top]


Creator: Gerald Thurman [deru@deru.com]
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