MOTD::Archive::Fall 1998 (31 December 1998)
|Summer 1998 MOTD|
The person heading up the city of Gilbert's Y2K effort is equally concerned about what's going to happen on 09 Sep 99. This date could be represented as the value 9999, which in turn is used as a "sentinel" value to terminate (or even worse abort) some programs. This is the first I've heard about this problem. [15 Dec 1998]
Here are few items to note:
Thanks to Kevin Masaryk (csc200 alumni and major Linux fan) for the link to the User Friendly by Illiad comic strip (it's cute). (Note: since I'm editing this file, the American Red Cross has posted a Y2K related webpage. Visit my Y2K Digest for details and a link.) [09 Dec 1998]
|Mitnick Trial Postponed Again||The long-awaited trial of Kevin Mitnick, the accused computer hacker indicted on 25 counts of "stealing, copying, and misappropriating proprietary computer software" from a number of cellular and computer companies, has been postponed until April 20 after Mitnick's lawyer asked for more time to prepare his case. The trial was slated to begin on January 19. Mitnick has been in jail in Los Angeles awaiting trial since February 1995. (Los Angeles Times 4 Dec 98) [06 Dec 1998].|
The last free book contest of the year is now available. This is not a "timed" contest -- you have until noon on 11-Dec-1998 to get it completed. Good luck! [05 Dec 1998]
60 Minutes on Sunday will air a Y2K show saying some folks expect serious problems. Programmers-turned-survivalists will be profiled. [26 Nov 1998]
If you are interested in Year 2000 (Y2K) stuff, then checkout my Y2K Digest that was added to the website on 16 Nov 1998.
|IT (Information Technology) Workers
Would Rather Switch
|A survey from George Mason University indicates that information technology workers are almost twice as likely as the general college-educated population to switch careers, with one in three anticipating doing so in the future. The survey polled 400 college graduates between the ages of 30 and 55 who are currently employed and have been out of school at least 10 years. Half of the respondents said they had already experienced one career change since college, and 40% reported at least two. Forty percent of IT workers said if they were starting over, they would study something different as undergraduates, with most of them citing the liberal arts. "The results suggest that employees are more restless than in the past and that companies, especially in the critically short-staffed high-tech industries, may want to take a hard look at their retention efforts," says Alan Merten, president of GMU. (CIO 1 Nov 98 [17 Nov 1998])|
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Attention Students: Get Your Degree
as per Bill Gates.
|On 05 Nov 1998, Bill Gates wrote an article for the New York Times Syndicate strongly suggesting that students get a degree. Although Gates dropped out of school (college, not high school) and became one of the world's richest men, he doesn't recommend anybody try to follow in his footsteps (and I agree with him). Here is a quote from the article: "My basic advice is simple and heartfelt: Get the best education you can. Take advantage of high school and college. Learn how to learn." [10 Nov 1998]|
is an excellent
website devoted to computer security and hacking. It is full of many
interesting articles. Late October, the
website was compromised and
here are some details.
[06 Nov 1998]
Read this interesting memo|
@ Open Source Software
|An internal Microsoft memo written by one of that company's software engineers indicates that Microsoft is concerned with developing strategies for competing against free programs that have been gaining popularity with software developers, such as the operating system Linux. The memorandum warns that the usual Microsoft marketing strategy known as FUD (an acronym for fear, uncertainty, and doubt) won't work against developers of free software, who are part of the O.S.S. (open-source software) movement that makes source code readily available to anyone for improvement and testing. The memo says: "The ability of the O.S.S. process to collect and harness the collective I.Q. of thousands of individuals across the Internet is simply amazing. More importantly, O.S.S. evangelization scales with the size of the Internet much faster than our own evangelization efforts appear to scale." (03 Nov 1998, NY Times) [3 Nov 1998]|
|Happy Halloween! [30 Oct 1998]|
We all owe Jason Inman (csc210 @ SCC) a big pat on the back for opening our eyes with respect to the nasty 100GB problem that is rapidly approaching us. The 100GB problem makes the Y2K problem seem trivial. Thanks Jason! [27 Oct 1998]
|The RISKS Digest||
RISKS (a moderated equivalent
of the comp.risks Usenet group) is a forum
on risks to the public in computers and related systems. It is amazing
the problems that people experience day in and day out because of computers.
Here is a recent example of a RISKS posting:
According to the 16 Oct *Wall Street Journal*, a trader at a French futures exchange accidentally leaned on his keyboard. Without realizing it, he placed an order to sell 14,500 government bond contracts, which caused the price to drop. His firm ended up losing several million dollars.So... if you delete an important file or your computer bites the dust, stay cool and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone when it comes to being frustrated by a stupid machine. [22 Oct 1998]
CSC Tutors Available!!! Bob Blakeley and Tom Remaklus have been hired as CSC tutors. Bob has taken CSC100 and CSC200 and is currently taking CSC260. Tom is currently taking CSC210 and he has successfully completed both CSC100 and CSC200. All CSC100, CSC150, CSC200 students can seek help from either Bob or Tom via email. Their respective email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com [21 Oct 1998]
|Prisoners Await Y2K Day||Among the more outlandish scenarios envisioned by Year 2000 doomsayers is that the millennium bug will crash prison security systems and open the razor-wire gates, setting loose untold numbers of violent and dangerous offenders. Or, prison records get hosed resulting the premature release of prisoners. For more, see the following article from Wired News. [18 Oct 1998]|
Hey, hey, I found another link to that cute animated Y2K cartoon.
|Win 2 Free Books!!!||
During the last year and a half, SCC has received a couple of emails
that are worthy of framing. I have provided links to these email
messages in my MOTDs. Your mission consists of two parts -- they are:
The "Subject" should read: special people The "body" of the email should contain the following content: On mm/dd/yy email received from ???. ??? is __________________________________. On mm/dd/yy email received from ???. ??? is __________________________________. Tim Berners-Lee thinks the web is still too _______ and _________.
Early last month, the state of Texas agreed to pay Microsoft $6.3
million to distribute a full Microsoft Office software package to
every University of Texas student at the subsidized price of $5 per
student. Few students are likely to pay the full price for any
competitor's package. De facto, the Texas state government has just
handed Microsoft a monopoly over software in the state's university
This follows a deal last Spring by the Indiana University system for a similar Microsoft-only deal for their students, a broad Microsoft-only deal agreed to this summer for most of Pennsylvania's state government, the failed attempt last year by the California State University system to adopt a Microsoft-only software deal, and numerous campus-by-campus deals where state government has given Microsoft mini-monopolies.
For more information about this stuff see the following:
Visit an Internet end-point.
Marc Andreesen, the creator of Netscape, was recently quoted
saying the if he was to start a company today, it would not
be a software company, but instead it would be an
Internet Server Provider (ISP). I guess he is not alone.
Are you in need of an ISP? If you are, then take a look
[I learned about this website from the Oct-98 issue of
"Communications of the ACM" (of all places). And,
just in case you don't know, David Bowie is a rock star.] |
Be sure to visit the comp.lang.c++ Usenet news group and checkout the discussion on coding standards. Numerous postings have been made by Andrew Koenig and Pete Becker. This particular thread of discussion is the best Usenet stuff I've seen in a long time.
Talk about striking gold -- here are a couple nuggets for you!
The Development of the C Programming Language is a paper by Dennis Ritchie that was presented at the Second History of Programming Languages conference, Cambridge, Mass., April, 1993.
The first MCC or SCC student to send me an email with the
|Free PCs coming soon?||
Marc Andreesen, the primary creator of the Mosiac browser (now
known as Netscape), predicts that in the near future PCs will be
available for free (I'll take one! What the heck, give me two!). |
Andreesen also predicted the "death of the consumer software industry" as more programs become free over the Internet. Question: Does that mean we are wasting our time learning how to write programs? [19 Sep 1998]
A survey of 1,200 students at 100 colleges and universities nationwide, conducted by research firm Student Monitor LLC, shows that when asked what was "in" on campus, 72.5% of the respondents answered "the Internet," whereas only 70.8% named "drinking beer." Up until now, beer-drinking has held the top spot since the bi-annual surveys began in 1988. [Information Week 31 Aug 1998]
On 03 Sep 1998 the Arizona Republic Community Section for the
Southeast Valley contained an opinion titled:
|Audree Thurman is a software professional with 16+ years of experience and she was a residential faculty member at MCC for three years. Here is an interview that I did with her. [25 Aug 1998]|
Wow! Email security problems galore -- first
Microsoft and Netscape followed by
Eudora -- they all appear to be suffering buffer overflow problems.
For those of you familiar with the STDC library, functions such as
Bruce Schneier, author of one of the most authoritative books on modern cryptography, has launched a free newsletter "providing summaries, analyses, insights, and commentaries on cryptography and computer security." The two online issues are full of good crypto related links of interest to both professionals and amateurs.
|I'm baaaaack... Prior to the start of the Fall '98 semester, I am going to do a re-structuring of my website. As a result, any bookmarks you may have to any of my stuff will probably be broken. I will try to re-direct when possible, but don't count on it. [03 Aug 1998]|