MOTD::Archive::Fall 1999 (31 December 1999)

Summer 1999 MOTD

Happy New Year! Happy Y2K!

The Unix date command says it is Sat Jan 1 01:56:48 MST 2000
We have moved into the Year 2000 -- wow. It's back to work on Monday.

31 December 1999: Goodbye 1900's

This is exciting... we enter year 2000. Finally, Y2K is upon us. The 21st century has been entered by New Zealand and Australia. Currently, everything is a-okay.

[31 Dec 1999 (Sun breaking, Overcast & 46° @ 7:10 AM), top]

Week Ending 24 Dec 1999

Yet Another ThurmBit
From Greg Kiech of CSC285 comes a ThurmBit about linkrot.

Course websites for Spring 2000 are initialized.
This gives me plenty of time to "play" around with ThurmUnit. I need to implement an archive feature to the Internet Observer. Plus, I'm looking forward to terminating the Y2K Digest. I wonder how long into year 2000 will this logger exist?

Speaking of Y2K...
Wall Street doesn't appeared worried. It will be interesting to watch how the markets trade during the last week of the 1900's.

[26 Dec 1999 (Dark & Mild 54° @ 6:20 AM), top]

Winter break notes... I'm posting status reports to the directory.

[22 Dec 1999 (Dark 54° @ 5:45 AM), top]

Week Ending 17 Dec 1999

Grades have been submitted. I'll come right out and admit it: I don't like grading. I ask students to tell me what grade they deserve. In the work place you have to do self-reviews. Your boss writes one on you and you write one on yourself. Then you compare notes.

When I did these self-reviews, I always focused on the things I did wrong. Why did we error? Did we learn something? What are the chances of it happening again? Demonstrate that you have a plan and that you are not afraid to implement it.

It is easy to get into the "I did this, and I did that" mentality. I like the "I didn't do this, and I didn't do that." I know I should have done them, but didn't. Avoid making excuses. An excuse works once or twice, but after that they can be ignored.

In a couple of classes this semester I asked students to only tell me what was not good about the course. Give me feedback so I can improve the classes the next time around. [I'm lucky that I get to go through the material again, this time in more detail.]

Going down the class rosters was fun for me this semester. I've gotten good effort from a lot of students. I thank you for this. I was mean to a couple of you because I think you need to extend yourself a bit more. You have to get excited about this stuff in order to do it well.

Route 66/Mojave Desert pictures

[17 Dec 1999 (65° getting dark @ 5:36 PM), top]

Yikes... a Thursday posting. I've started a CSC298 projects list.

[16 Dec 1999 (Sunny 63° afternoon @ 2:00 PM), top]

Yikes... a Wednesday posting. I've just finished ThurmSpeaks About Reputation (And Being Easy).

[15 Dec 1999 (A COLD, but sunny 37° morning @ 7:56 AM), top]

Yikes... a Monday posting. I'll be in my office on Tuesday at 12:00 (noon). I'll stay for at least an hour.

What timing... the mcunix machine was shutdown on me. The following websites are currently resting in an archive: csc178, csc150, csc210 (C++), csc260. CSC298 project: port these suckers onto either csZerO or csnet.

Try my new Population and Stocks ThurmBits.

[13 Dec 1999 (A cool, but sunny 62° afternoon @ 4:54 PM), top]

<font size="4"><strong><tt>
Week Ending 10 Dec 1999 Posting
<!-- HTML code -->

[11 Dec 1999 (Dark and Cold 41° Morning @ 6:02 AM), top]

System.out.println("03 Dec 1999\n")
// java code

The SCC CSC Newsletter for December, 1999 has been posted to the website. We rant about the program, review the Spring 2000 course offerings, and recommend caution when shopping online.

Eight computers are going to be used to help decide the college football champion. The eight computers together are one of four criteria that factor into the selection (record, schedule, and polls are the other criteria used). From WiredNews::Culture comes Football's a Complicated Game.

We are starting to acquire a lot of student generated materials on csZerO: Learning About Computing. If we can increase the pace, then this system can evolve into a useful resource for those of us interested in learning about computing.
From the AZIPA mailing list comes the following invitation:
Join us for the first Techie Tuesday in Downtown Tempe, 6 p.m., Tuesday Dec. 7 at Mill Avenue Beer Company, 605 S. Mill Ave. What is a Techie Tuesday? It's a chance to get together with friends and colleagues, talk business, talk trash, whatever you like . . . The first Techie Tuesdays is brought to you by Integrated Information Systems (IIS) and the Downtown Tempe Community. IIS is a leader in Internet-based services and recently announced a 72,000 square foot expansion in downtown Tempe. The Downtown Tempe Community is a private, non-profit downtown management and marketing association.

Four weeks ago I was anxious for this semester to be over, but now the end of the semester has amazingly caught me by surprise. We still have so much to learn -- we can't be done. In my case, I'm going to rewind each course and do it again. This may sound boring, but it isn't. With each pass my notes improve in quality, depth, and quantity. Plus, my knowledge of the subject matter expands. Having no new courses this Spring will enable me to allocate more time to learning new topics such as PHP, mySQL, XML, ksh, and so on). If I can learn this stuff, then so can you.

I am very pleased [and I don't use the word very in my writing] with the efforts that I have gotten from numerous students this semester. Thank you.

[03 Dec 1999 (Dark and Cold 39° Morning @ 6:15 AM), top]

echo "Items for the week ending 26 Nov 1999"
# shell script

Here's an ITEM
The ThurmUnit motto is We Learn It, We Do It, We Teach It. Teaching is a great learning tool; therefore, it is good practice to try to teach others what you have learned (the web is a great enabler of this practice). If you want to get into teacher-mode, then start by reading the following document by U.C.L.A. Professor Phil Agre called How to Help Someone Use a Computer.

Here's an ITEM
The Y2K problem is all about dates. Programs do a lot of processing on dates (and times). This is not easy programming to do. Calendars go way back and are complicated. Here is a note about odd and even dates.

Here's an ITEM
I don't know why, but I think ThurmBits have great potential for providing information. Last week you got a bit on flash technology... this week you get the following additions and changes.

[26 Nov 1999 (Sunny, but chilly 46° Day at 9:00 AM), top]

printf("Stuff for the week ending 19 Nov 1999\n\n");
/* C and C++ code */

Stuff: When you think RedHat (NASDAQ: RHAT) you may think Linux and an atmospheric stock price. However, RedHat is also committed to the Open Source movement. Wide Open News is a new resource provided by RedHat and they have published an interesting Wide Open Manifesto.

Stuff: Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, has published an article that summarizes how Microsoft's efforts to control the server-side of the Internet was stunted by the Apache Open Source product. Visit the Technology section of and read How the Web Was Almost Won.


[19 Nov 1999 (Sunny 77° Day at 3:22 PM), top]

Here is an array of elements for the week ending 12 Nov 1999:


Is Linux the Real Remedy? from Salon Technology is a good article about the Microsoft ruling (Nasdaq: MSFT) and how it compares to the break up of AT&T (NYSE: T) . Legal mumbo-jumbo -- It's the Law -- is an interview with Judge Bork .


Humorous Images:   Questionable Picture of Bill Gates and the New Microsoft Keyboard.


Seinfeld' Computer Virus Emerges is an article from Mercury Center. [ThurmFoo] My one word opinion on this virus? Yuck. [Side-bar] Mercury Center is a San Jose newspaper that uses the motto: "Covering the Birthplace of Buzz".


This seems weird. Use the web and your credit card to support our government's debt by purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds Online.

[12 Nov 1999 (Sunny 91° Day at 4:00 PM), top]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [11 Nov 1999 (Sunny 87° Day at 3:00 PM), top]

I'm back... [Sun Nov 7 15:57:01 MST 1999] Mojave Desert Phone Booth status update.

Hello and happy EOTW (End Of The Week). Tyler and I are on the road again. This time we are off to do some Route 66 in search of the Mojave Desert Phone Booth.

[05 Nov 1999, top]

Another week "bytes" the dust. Here are some items for the week ending 29 Oct 1999.

Silicon Valley Humor Man walks into a Silicon Valley pet shop to buy a monkey. He has three choices:

  • the $500 monkey can write programs in "C"
  • the $1500 monkey understands object-oriented technology
  • the $3000 monkey can't do anything, but it calls itself a consultant

csZerO:   Learning About Computing has a new homepage. I've spent hours and hours on this webpage. Please be sure to check it out when you have some free time. [Free time... What's that?]

Due to laziness, I did not complete CPSR Report #2. [I didn't even start it.] Hopefully we will have this report written in time for next week's MOTD posting.

Spring 2000 Class Schedule is on-line. There are some errors with it.

  1. CSC210 will be a Java course (not C++) and Thurman (as in ThurmUnit) is not the instructor -- Audree Thurman is.
  2. The CSC100 and CSC110 clases will be taught by Jennifer Trelewicz.

The CSC program at SCC is lucky to be adding Audree and Jennifer to our team. Move over Yankees!

The December 1999 issue of the ThurmNewsletter will discuss the SCC course offerings in detail. If you have questions before then, send me an email, or visit me during an office hour in room LS-110, or you can call me at 480-423-6110.

DJIA Goes High-Tech by adding Microsoft, Intel, SBC Communications and Home Depot among its 30 components starting 01 November 1999. Those stocks would have added 617 points to the Dow's 10,302 close on 26 Oct 1999, had they been included for all of the 1990s. The following stocks were removed: Chevron, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Union Carbide and Sears Roebuck.

[29 Oct 1999, top]

Hello! Here is stuff for the week ending 22 Oct 1999.

Have safe and easy weekend.

[22 Oct 1999, top]

Tidbits for the week ending 15 October 1999.
  • Want a job? Then pass a test. The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges has developed a new computer proficiency test that technology firms are considering for testing job applicants. [More...]
  • The first panel discussion at the CPSR annual meeting included Pavel Curtis (co-founder of, Scott Hassan (CTO, Chief Technology Officer, of, and Craig Newmark (creator of Here is CPSR Report #1.
  • A recent Internet Observer question had us asking the question Why should Virginia by the Internet Capital? Here is a possible answer.
  • CSC298AA has been added to the Spring 2000 semester. This is a 1-credit course that is organized and tailored around the interests and needs of the individual student. Structured to provide a platform for individualized research and study supported by the Instructor. Software (Unix, Internet, GNU and Open Source) and equipment are made available for student use. Prerequisites: None. This class will not have a fixed meeting scheduled; in fact, we may never meet as a class.
  • Last month it was Tom Petty. Tonight it is Bruce Springsteen.
[15 Oct 1999, top]

Risks Digest is a running log of the various and sundry problems that happen to computer-based systems. The list is compiled and moderated by Peter Neumann.

CPSR Report #0 is my first report from the CPSR conference. It covers a talk given by Dr. Gray Bechin who studies and writes about the history and ecology of California. Beware: I was in a feisty mood when I typed in CPSR Report #0.

Learning About Computing is tough! Over the summer I wrote an article about this topic and as we approach the middle of the semester, I felt it appropriate to suggest you read Thurman Speaks About Learning About Computing.

Stub Homepages have been created on the new CSC computers. CSC294 students continue to work on csNeT: Learning About the Internet and csDeV: Learning About Software Development

[08 Oct 1999, top]

Darn... I've escaped from the Hotel California. I will be producing a document about the CPSR conference, but it will be done in bits and pieces. Overall, I thought the conference was good and I am glad I attended. In fact, if I can get off my lazy butt, I may try to establish a CPSR Chapter here in Phoenix. [ThurmFoo] Conference attendees were primarily older white males. I haven't seen so many balding men with pony-tails and facial hair since my last Willie Nelson concert. [04 Oct 1999, top]

[No Home Work for Me]

I'm off to the Internet Gold Rush of '99 conference in San Francisco. I am looking forward to talks by Larry Wall (the creator of Perl) and Brian Behlendorf (director of the Apache Project).

I typically don't care for big cities, but SF is the exception. Here is a quote I heard from somebody: "The coldest winter I've experienced is a summer day in San Francisco." Every time I go to the Bay area I have to visit Haight-Ashbury. Twenty years ago I would have gone with flowers in my hair, but today I've got no hair; regardless, we are still California Dreamin' [a tune]. On Sunday I am planning on doing the Page Mill Road/LaHonda loop, but by car rather than bike [Neil Young lives in these hills].

[01 Oct 1999, top]

Here are tidbits for the week ending 24 Sep 1999:

[24 Sep 1999, top]

Here are some tidbits for the week ending 17 Sep 1999:

FLASH! Ilan Terrell of CSC294 (Unix class) has been in contact with Bjarne Stroustrup -- the father of the C++ programming language. Dr. Stroustrup granted us permission to post his advice to the website. Here it is.

Here are few more items...

[17 Sep 1999, top]

09 Sep 1999 (9/9/99) was a concern for many people in the computer industry. If a date is stored using four digits, then this date would be 9999. On some computers and programs (particularly older ones), 9999 is a sentinel value that is used to terminate a program, indicate the end of a stream of data, cause a machine to halt, and so forth. As of Fri Sep 10 15:12:13 MST 1999 I have not heard of any major problems. This is good.

I am considering getting a new office chair for my apartment. I want to thank Mr. Boettcher (Steve) for the following idea. [Who is Mr. Boettcher?].

A hyperlink to the Importance of Being Wrong article was originally posted to the MOTD on 16 Apr 1999. I've decided to share the hyperlink again because I like and agree with David Weinberger's opinion. Please read the Importance of Being Wrong.

Nikki writes...

"Why is it that everywhere you go you are reminded that we live in a world full of dog lovers. I go to Petsmart and they always have treats out for dogs but none for cats. They gave me the excuse that the cat treats dry out...can't say I believe that since the ingredients are similar. And you always see people bringing in their dogs but you never see cats. Then I saw that you only had a recipe for dog treats on your ThurmFood pages...I don't hold you responsible for this since people usually send the recipes to I found some cat treat recipes that I know my cats would enjoy."

The Kitty Heaven and Cat Cookies recipes have been added to ThurmFood. [Speaking of cats and dogs, here is an image.]

[10 Sep 1999, top]

Here are some items from the week ending 03 September 1999.
  • Marie's Recipe With No Name has been added to the ThurmFood section of website. The recipe was provided by Marie of CSC185.

  • I am attempting to obtain funds to attend "The Internet Gold Rush of '99: Can We Pan for Gold while Serving the Good? The Pursuit of Wealth and Equity in Cyberspace." It will be held the 2nd and 3rd of October at Stanford Unversity. Guest speakers Eric Raymond (Open Source evangelist) and Larry Wall (creator of the Perl programming language) will be accepting an award on behalf of the Open Source movement. The conference is sponsered by the CPSR: Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.
  • Do you feel as if there are not enough seconds in a minute, not enough minutes in an hour, not enough hours in a day, not enough days in a week, not enough weeks in a year, not enough years in a decade, and so forth? If yes, then you will probably like the following idea.
  • This happens every semester: people don't know what to call me. Here is a note that contains help.
  • 06 Sep 1999 is Labor Day. Have an easy one.
[03 Sep 1999, top]

Here are some items from the week ending 27 August 1999.

[27 Aug 1999, top]

[flash] From Politech listserver comes news of a serious MS Windows bug that lets an attacker seize a computer via email. Excellent news account from Wired News. As of  Thu Aug 26 17:52:20 MST 1999  nothing as been posted to either CERT or CIAC. [26 Aug 1999, top]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [20 Aug 1999, top]