MOTD::Archive::Fall 2001 (28 December 2001)

Summer 2001 MOTD

ThurmHoliday: Happy New Year 2002

Week Ending 28 December 2001

ThurmComputing::Accidental Programmers
During the speculative computing era of the late 1990s, numerous people entered into the programming profession. Getting a job was easy because the supply/demand ratio was speculatively skewed to the demand-side. Some of these homegrown programmers are great; others (and probably the majority) are not. Here is a story from O'Reilly: Confessions of an Accidental Programmer.

ThurmDMCA::Dmitry Skylarov Allowed to Go Home, But...
Dmitry can go home to Russia, but he is not free. He is required to testify against his employer, he is subject to the Court's supervision (which requires him to regularly telephone the Pretrial Services Dept.), and he is not allowed to violate any laws (including copyright). If Dmitry does all this without error, then maybe our country (i.e. the USA) will drop charges against him. Russian Hacker to go Home.

A lot of people in the computing profession spent time and effort trying to get our government to send Dmitry home as a free person. I participated in two rallies during the heat of the summer and a small group of people at the 2001 Burning Man festival also held their own protest.

ThurmMOTD::New Stuff Added to the MOTD
At the top-right corner of the webpage is the ThurmGlossary:: NewWord hyperlink that takes the clicker to A.Word.A.Day resource.

The "body" of the MOTD now contains a hyperlink to the Thurm911::Freedom Quote Giver along with a hyperlink to ThurmDot::Slashdot which is a webpage that contains the current headlines from the website.

I am thinking about creating a collection of news-feeders to the MOTD. The capital dee in MOTD stands for Day, which implies it updates daily. News-feeders allow part of the MOTD to be dynamic content that is generated automatically. Currently, ThurmUnit has Unix, open source, and computer security news-feeders implemented, but they were not designed for re-use. [The ThurmNewsfeed::Open Source News is available from the MOTD.]

[28 December 2001 (last MOTD of Year 2001... 58° @ 2:23pm) top]

Week Ending 21 December 2001

Computing::Three Computing Women in the News
Women in computing -- it does and can happen. I've been following the careers of KimP and CarlyF, but this week I learned about Betty Holberton. { GDT::Computing::Bit:: Women Who Compute}

Foo::The World's Funniest Joke
I don't know how anybody can claim a joke to be the funniest in the world, but somebody is making such a claim. [ click if curious]

[21 December 2001 (Year 2002 is rapidly approaching... 60° @ 10:35am) top]

Week Ending 14 December 2001

Software Piracy and Operation Buccaneer
Thursday, 13 December 2001, Arizona Republic
Valley & State section -- page one.

Federal agents seized $233,000 from two East Valley homes (one in Mesa and one in Gilbert) as part of an investigation into a global ring of software pirates. The raid was called Operation Buccaneer and it targeted 62 people in 27 U.S. cities and five foreign countries. Agents indicate that software pirates steal not for money but for fun, and that they compete against each other to be known as the fastest, highest-quality provider of free, pirated software.

Operation Buccaneer also resulted in five Universities being investigated (MIT, Duke, Oregon, UCLA, Purdue). [Universities have high-speed networks and students who have a weird way of having fun.] Federal Agents Raid 5 Campuses in a Widespread Software-Piracy Investigation []

The Fall 2001 Semester in Review
I have written a document that reviews the Fall 2001 semester. For me it was a great semester, but the [cszero] Learning About Computing group may have only added a handful of members. Oh well, maybe next year will be a better year. ThurmAdmin::Review of the Fall 2001 Semester.

[14 December 2001 (computer industry is in a slump... 51° @ 1:10pm) top]

Week Ending 07 December 2001

Hodgepodge of This, Hodgepodge of That
It is the end-of-semester and I have lots of stuff queued for posting. This week's updates to ThurmUnit are an attempt to clear the queue. I have posted lots of stuff to the Internet Observer, lots of stuff to the Unix & Linux Logger, and lots of stuff to the Security Watchdog. In the past, words such as smorgasboard, potpourri, and various and sundry, have been used to describe "lots of stuff" postings. This week "lots of stuff" is referred to as a hodgepodge. [Here is a hodgepodge of postings.]

From Young To Old To Young To Old...
Yesterday I spent time connecting SCC football to the C Programming language. [see TerpIdiots] Today I have found myself trying to connect young and old.

ThurmFood::Mexican Lasagna and Best Brownies Ever
I went all semester without doing anything with the ThurmFood resource. I don't know about you, but Learning About Computing makes me hungry. I've implemented this Mexican Lasagna recipe numerous times and it always turns out good. [It is really tasty as a left-over.]

ThurmThanks to MarieT for making a couple of slight alterations to her Best Brownies Ever recipe.

[07 December 2001 (Pearl Harbor suvivors have survived a long time... 65° @ 12:15pm) top]

Week Ending 23 November 2001

ThurmEDU::MIT's OpenCourseWare Project [update]
The 13 April 2001 MOTD posting contained a hyperlink to this MIT press release announcing that MIT was going to make most of its course materials available for free on the WWW (world wide web). Project name: OpenCourseWare. Here is an update provided by EDUCause.

MIT has embarked on its OpenCourseWare project, an initiative to develop Web pages for the institute's 2,000-plus courses. The pilot phase of the project involves about 20 professors from eight departments tasked with creating template pages. A support staff is also being hired while MIT attempts to develop search and support tools. MIT says that the course sites will be used as an educational resource rather than as tools for distance education. Pilot project manager Kyung I. Han notes that the project is currently emphasizing interactive features that will serve the on-campus community. Off-campus users will be addressed as the project progresses. International universities have also expressed interest in OpenCourseWare. Civil and environmental engineering professor Steven R. Lerman says that many groups will be interested in translating the course material into other languages.
MIT is laying the foundation for the future of education and I'm going to tag along. Here is the MIT OpenCourseWare - Fact Sheet. [ThurmThanks to NickB for reminding me about this MIT project.]

ThurmMicrosoft::This Helps Us Feel Secure
The following error message has been encountered by users using the "Change Password" function on Professional, Server and Advanced Server editions of Windows 2000: Your Password Must Be at Least 18770 Characters. The error message also goes on to say that the password " cannot repeat any of your previous 30689 passwords." [That's a lot of passwords.]

ThurmSCC::Go Artichokes
Congratulations to the Scottsdale Community College football team for making it to the Valley of the Sun Bowl. SCC will play the Garden City Community College (KS) Broncbusters at SCC on Saturday, 01 December 2001, at 2:00pm. [ Why is the SCC mascot an artichoke?]

[Update] I went to the game. Here is a directory listing of pictures.

[30 November 2001 (Isn't it a pity all things must pass: George Harrison dead at age 58... 57° @ 10:15am) top]

Week Ending 23 November 2001

From ThurmMicrosoft comes...
Microsoft Office XP Professional was the top-selling software title last month at campus bookstores surveyed by The Chronicle. [More...]

[Extra] Speaking of bookstores, bookstores implies books and here is a question Are Tech Book Sales a Leading Economic Indicator?

From ThurmComputingFun comes...
Technology fer Country Folks. [Thanks to SCC Instructor DanN for the hyperlink.]

More from ThurmComputingFun...
Here are some computing related fortune cookies.

"If it weren't for C, we'd be writing programs in BASI, PASAL, and OBOL."

"A good system can't have a weak command language."

"Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization."

" Computer system analysis is like child-rearing; you can do grievous damage, but you cannot ensure success."

I like these Computer Science related Fortune Cookies.

[23 November 2001 (Comfortably full... 74° @ 10:55am) top]

ThurmHoliday: Thanksgiving

Week Ending 16 November 2001

The Hewlett's and a Packard Say No Compaq
If you are on unix/internet/free/open side of computing, then you need to like companies such as HP and Compaq. Both of these companies are huge and by combining they become more huge. In computing, size matters. I have a connection with HP. I like HP. It is sad that HP has to grow by merger. HP/Compaq Merger in Doubt [ThurmThanks to DavidO'M for the hyperlink.]

Wow... Lifetime Contract
I've never been a fan of Duke University, but I'm sure it is a good school and I suspect it is fun being the basketball coach there.

Duke University has reached a new contract agreement with its head basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, that would allow him to continue coaching at the university for the rest of his career. The financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. In the 2000 fiscal year, Duke paid Mr. Krzyzewski almost $588,000 -- $162,000 more than the university's president made that year.
Hey SCC... how about giving me a lifetime contract?

Tonight (Friday, 16 November 2001) is Bobby Knight's first game as Head Coach of the basketball team at Texas Tech University.

It is Not Secretary Day, But...
I came across the following quote from a Religious Studies professor:

The most important people in the Institution are the Secretaries. All of life's major problems can be solved by the departmental secretary.
I can see how a secretary would be useful. Neil Young once sang that a "man needs a maid." I say people need a secretary.

Since I'm Into Quoting Neil Young...
On Monday, 12 November 2001, Neil Young turned 56 years young. [i.e. Neil was born in 1945.]

ThurmUnit to NeilYoung::Happy Birthday To You

Next year I'm going to try to attend the Bridge Benefit. This year's benefit took place on the 20th and 21st of October and I have a feeling it was good. - Neil Young Biography

[16 November 2001 (Zion road trip pictures... 80° @ 12:10pm) top]

ThurmHoliday: Veterans Day

Week Ending 09 November 2001

Robot See, Robot Kill
What if... the software that controls these robots have defects?

Scientists are working on a camera that automatically tracks people as they move and focuses on the loudest person in a group. It was funded by the military, which wants to develop robot sentinels capable of automatically returning fire when attacked.
In many cases, when software corrupts data, sane data is restored from backup. I'm curious as to how this will work when human-beings are the data. Robot See, Robot Kill from WiredNews::Technology

Slashdot Turns Four Years Young
Slashdot was created in 1997 and it is currently owned by the OSDN (Open Source Development Network). The Slashdot motto is News for Nerds. Stuff that matters. Here are some recent postings.

Slashdot has more than 500,000 register users and the website get two million visitors per month. [ More... from Yahoo! Business]

On the Road Again...
It is Veterans Day weekend and I am getting ready to get on the road again. Destination spots are located in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Here is the road trip plan.

[09 November 2001 (going places that I've never been... 64° @ 5:30am) top]

Week Ending 02 November 2001

Oxymoron This, Oxymoron That
Back in March of the Year 2000 I created the Security Watchdog. The Security Watchdog logo contains the following wording:

Security WatchDog::Watching Computer Security
Is "computer security" an oxymoron?

These days I have been encountering a rash of oxymoronic stuff.

[Definition] oxymoron (ok-see-MOR-on, -mor-)
noun, plural oxymora or oxymorons

A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.

National Enquirer/Doug Engelbart an Oxymoron?
DebbieK brought the following to my attention a few weeks ago.

National Enquirer Headline from 26 August 2001
Ted Kennedy Dying

In this same Ted Kennedy issue is an article...

The Mouse the Roared!
1 Billion of the computer gizmos have been sold
-- but the inventor only got $10,000.

The article was about Doug Engelbart -- the father of the computer mouse. Engelbart started developing the mouse in 1963. Sometime ago [I don't remember when], I wrote ThurmSpeaks::About the Mouse.

Stallman's Homepage Flag
SusanH created the following American flag for RMS. [As of Thu Nov 1 15:28:30 MST 2001, RMS has it displayed on his homepage.] SusanH created the image using a program called The GIMP [The GNU Image Manipulation Program]. The GIMP is a free piece of software that allows you to re-touch photos, and compose and author images. SusanH created the flag for RMS because she is interested in learning about the GIMP. The wording around the flag are part of the image but the words were provided by Stallman.

[American Flag]

[02 November 2001 (saw Greg Allman last night { ThurmFun::Concerts}... 72° @ 9:30am) top]

Week Ending 26 October 2001

Richard Stallman: Who will watch the watchmen?
RMS (Richard Stallman) wrote an article related to computer security and our rights to privacy. From comes Who Will Watch the Watchmen?

FIRE: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Due to 911, there have increasing attacks on Academic Freedoms and on the Freedoms of Students to exercise their rights. Some of the stories documented on the FIRE website read like fiction.

Microsoft: It Sure is Nice to Have $$$
If only the Free Software Foundation and Open Source movements had the money to do stuff like this.

Microsoft chief Bill Gates will unveil XP, the much-awaited Windows operating system, in the Bruised Apple -- with a free concert featuring Sting, free software for schools, private and public parties and more. [ More... from WiredNews::Business]

It is the giving away of "free"software to schools that helps Microsoft remain dominate. Students learn about computing using Microsoft products. They grow into adults who are willing to pay money in order to continue using Microsoft's just good enough products.

Speaking of XP... when errors occur, then personal data may be sent to Microsoft.

[26 October 2001 ( Michigan pictures... 90° @ 12:15pm) top]

Week Ending 19 October 2001

Where Are the Computer Jobs
Last Sunday's (14 Oct 2001) Computer Help Wanted Ads from Arizona Republic were as sparse as I have ever seen since moving to the Valley of the Sun in May of 1985. Two columns of jobs and that was it. [In the past I have seen the computer jobs span four/five pages.] The Phoenix area is not alone with respect to having a dismal computer-related job market. Yahoo! News reports Silicon Valley Unemployment Climbs Sharply.

Freedom Quote Giver
I've collected up some quotes pertaining to Freedom and the quotes can be viewed using this Freedom Quote Giver.

CPSR Conference at the University of Michigan
I am off to the 2001 CPSR 20th Annversity Conference being hosted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here are some details.

[19 October 2001 (getting ready for Detroit... 61° @ 5:02am) top]

Week Ending 12 October 2001

Cubicle Versus Office
I've had offices and I've had cubicles [and for 18 months my workspace was a room that was used for storage]. I prefer an office over a cubicle, but Dilbert's Ultimate Cubicle does offer some interesting ideas.

Adding the Sense of Smell to Computing (iSmell and eNose)
The idea of bringing the sense of smell to computing has always been interesting.

For a while now, I have been on the FirstWhiff mailing list. FirstWhiff is produced by DigiScents. From their homepage: "DigiScents brings the sense of smell to your computer with iSmell digital scent technology."

If smell is added to computing, then what would this program stinks mean?

The Illinois Institute of Technology has created a sensing device that can identify smells called eNose.

iSmell + eNose...
What do you get when you have a computer that contains both iSmell and eNose devices? A computer that can smell itself.

You could have two programs communicate with each other using smells. Program A writes data to iSmell and Program B reads the data from eNose. Depending on the quality of the smells, that may or may not make for a user-friendly computing experience.

Keep On Rock'n In the Free World
I consider Neil Young to be my buddy even though he doesn't know who I am. Neil is a Guru artist and a good guy. If he was a computer professional, then he would be worthy of a spot on the ThurmDreamTeam. Here is short Thank You note to Neil Young.

[12 October 2001 (CNN heading: Anthrax confirmed in NYC... 75° @ 9:59am) top]

Week Ending 05 October 2001

Using Free and Open Software Makes Sense
Using free and open software makes sense for dot-edu's. The CSC program at SCC operates on minimal budget thanks to free and open software. These days it appears that dot-gov's are starting to see the benefits of using free and open software.

Assisted Computing Facilities [humor]
Silicon Pines sounds like a fun place for those us who lack confidence when it comes to using a computer.

   Care Giver: Hi, (Resident), would you like to launch a screen saver?
     Resident: Yes. What do I do?  
   Care Giver: Sit right there and don't touch the keyboard 
               for eight minutes.  (After the eight minutes 
               go by, the screen saver kicks in.)
   Care Giver: You did it!
     Resident: I did it!
"Silicon Pines is a fully licensed Assisting Computing Facility. We accept Compucare and Compucaid, and are approved by most Helpdesk Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)."
I can see Assisted Computing Facilities becoming popular. [from]

On The Road Again
This week's MOTD is being updated early Friday AM because I am getting ready to leave on an approximate 900 mile road trip to/from Four Corners.

[05 October 2001 (on the road again... 70° @ 5:42am) top]

Week Ending 28 September 2001

The MOTD is Back
I made a mistake placing HTTP Authetication on the MOTD. The password protection, which was added on 11 September 2001, blocked not only my 911 writings, but also four plus years of MOTD postings. As a result, the following structural changes have been made to ThurmUnit.

Meet Phil Zimmermann
Phil Zimmermann is the inventor of a computer program called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP. He posted the tool for free on the Internet ten (10) years ago; it was the first to allow ordinary people to encrypt messages so only those with a key could read them. No government or law enforcement agency has been able to get in.

Our government is looking at banning this type of technology.

Zimmermann -- who is a good guy -- has received hate mail.

"Phil -- I hope you can sleep at night with the blood of 5,000 people on your hands... PGP has become a weapon of war..."
Washington Post article.
Awards Zimmermann has Been Awarded

In 1996 the Norbert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for promoting the responsible use of technology.

1995 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Clarifications from Zimmermann

The person who interviewed Zimmermann did not do a good job reporting what Zimmermann said. Here are clarifications.

Feeling bad about them using it is not the same as feeling that PGP was a mistake, or that I have changed my principles about human rights and crypto. I thought I had also made it clear that I had no regrets about developing PGP. I am still very much aware that PGP was a good thing, and that strong crypto helps more than hurts. I have been saying that to the press all week. I just said it again in two more interviews I had before breakfast this morning, and will continue to say it. It seems I have to say it more forcefully. [full message]
Phil Zimmermann's Home Page [I'm thinking of adding Zimmermann to the ThurmDreamTeam.]

I Was Richard Stallman's Taxi Driver
On 26 September 2001, I safely transported Richard Stallman from Chandler AZ to Flagstaff AZ. I treated it like a road trip and I always document my road trips.

[28 September 2001 (the MOTD returns... 100° @ 5:00pm) top]

Week Ending 21 September 2001

Computing Bits
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[21 September 2001 (it just gets more sad... 101° @ 4:44pm) top]

Week Ending 14 September 2001

11 September 2001 -- 9/11 -- 911
11 September 2001 was a sad day that has resulted in a sad week. The United States of America was attacked. I think we have all been victimized.

Everything I wanted to post this week is all related to 911. Because my opinions could be considered offensives to some (maybe even many), the rest of this week's items have been posted to Thurm911.

[14 September 2001 (it's been a sad week... 95° @ 2:24pm) top]

Week Ending 07 September 2001

ASU, NAU, UofA -- The Big Schools
UofA is going to require all students to use email. Email is how the school is going to communicate information to their students. If students don't read their email, then they risk missing important announcements and communications. Email is one of the oldest and most popular Internet-based applications. The UofA's email usage confirms our belief that Internet literacy is important. [source::Arizona Republic]

The new President of NAU is pondering proposing that the school change their name. [They don't like the 'N' standing for Northern. Heck, Northern Arizona is a great place. They should be proud of their name.] If I was a CS major, then I would look to see what the NAU program has to offer. [source::Arizona Republic]

ASU East has instituted a program that deals with Technical Communication, Visual Communication, Writing with Technology, and Technical Editing. They call it Multimedia Writing and Technical Communication. [ThurmThanks to MarciaW for alerting us about this.]

Social Implications of Computing and Information Science
Cornell needs to be congratulated for opening up the following high-level position:

The Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University seeks an open-rank faculty member in the social, ethical and political implications of computers and information science.
This would be a cool job. Everything would be open for discussion. The Interent is causing all kinds of issues to be raised. The position title: Social Implications of Computing and Information Science. [source::Phil Agre, UCLA Professor, via his RRE listserv]

Meet Neil and Herb Thurman
Here is Neil Thurman [sorry Neil Young] and here is Herb Thurman [sorry Herb Mumford]. What's a Thurman?

[07 September 2001 (back to SCC for a meeting... 100° @ 12:37pm) top]

ThurmHoliday: Labor Day

Week Ending 31 August 2001

Software That Can Flunk You
Computer programs are good at grading exams that consists of questions having either true/false, matching, single word or multiple choice answers. Writing a computer program to grade essay questions is bordering on the AI (Artificial Intelligence) world. From WiredNews::Back To School comes a computer that can grade essays.

Signs That This is the 21st Century
You go to the Super Bowl and your face is scanned, a visiting Russian programmer is arrested for demonstrating code, Wall Street wants us to believe the Internet and Computing have no future... oops, this is my list -- here is the real list.

Yahoo! Women in Computing
Elizabeth "Libby" Sartain (formerly Vice President of People at Southwest Airlines Co.) has become Senior VP of Human Resources at Yahoo. [Libby is a woman. Here is a huge picture (1.2MB).] Interestingly, Libby reports to Yahoo's CFO (Chief Financial Officer) -- Susan Decker. [Susan is a woman.] Press release from Yahoo!Finance: Yahoo Names Senior VP of Human Resources.

[Extra] Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina [a woman] is the Chairman and CEO of Hewlett Packard. [HP is a huge computer company.]

[Extra] Meg Whitman [a woman] is the President and CEO of Ebay. [Many consider Ebay to be one of the best Internet companies in the world.]

[Extra] Kim Polese [a woman] is the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of Marimba. [Polese along with a few guru programmers left Sun Microsystems to co-found Marimba.]

[Extra] WITI -- Women In Technology International is an organization devoted to supporting women in technology. They have an Arizona Chapter.

[31 August 2001 (Bright and Sunny... 101° @ 2:40pm) top]

Week Ending 24 August 2001

Yet Another MOTD...
The Summer 2001 MOTD has been archived. This is the beginning of the 13th MOTD. [ MOTD Archive]

About the AzDev Group
AzDev is new group that is in an early formation stage. The following was copied from the website:

We are an informal gathering of Phoenix area software developers, dedicated to helping each other continue the art of writing good software.

They have had two physical meetings. The first was on the topic of eXtreme Programming and the last was the "The Rosetta Stone -- An Informal Comparison of Some Languages"

To join the AzDev low-volume mailing list, send a message containing "subscribe" to

Crock Pot Chili
I like crock pot dishes because they are usually tasty and easy to make. In a lot of the recipes all you have to do is mix up a bunch of stuff and then let the crock pot cook it for a few hours. [Sometimes you let the crock pot cook it all day.] If I get permission, then this Crock Pot Chili is going to become a ThurmRecipe.

The Streets of ASU
I went and hiked 'A' Mountain in Tempe after my Friday office hour. On my way home, I encountered an ASU student doing a stupid thing. This student's behavior caused me to submit a copy of ThurmSpeaks::The Streets of ASU as a Letter to the Editor at the Arizona Republic.

[24 August 2001 (Dusk... 104° @ 7:01pm) top]