MOTD::Archive::Fall 2004 (31 December 2004)

Summer 2004 MOTD

Week Ending 31 December 2004

Computing::Predicting the Future is Fun The Headlines You Won't See in 2005 After the IBM Deal, Where Is the "PC" Business Headed?

Computing::Damn 2-Byte Signed Integers
During the holiday season, Comair (a Cincinnati-based regional airline) was shutdown due to software that was using 16-bits to store a counter. The counter was used to count the number or crew changes that occur during a month (i.e. it is set to zero at the start of the month). Bad weather caused numerous crew reassignments and the counter "overflowed" when it hit 32,768. In a nutshell, the airline could not safely run without the computers.

RoadHacker::Tempe is My Hometown
I rode the bus to downtown Tempe for a few hours and took lots of pictures of Tempe.

[01 January 2005 (this is the last 2004 posting; 60° at 11:23am) top]

Week Ending 24 December 2004

Computing::Wikipedia Co-creator Speaks
MIT Technology Review has an interview with Larry Sanger -- co-creator of the Wikipedia online encylopedia. There are many "informaticians" who think it is impossible for regular old "netizens" to create and maintain a trustworthy encylopedia. They may be right, but then again they could be wrong. { Larry Sanger's Knowledge Free-for-All }

RoadHacker::Tamarisk Shoe Tree and Rice, California
Earlier in the week, I completed a 2-day/1-night, 511 mile, roadtrip Rice, California. Here is a slideshow.

[24 December 2004 (deep blue sky, but cool 60° at 12:17pm) top]

Week Ending 17 December 2004

Computing::Ubiquitous Computing Continues to Evolve
Japan's Fujitsu and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) have formed a partnership to study "ubiquitous computing." In a nutshell, ubiquitous computing impies computers are everywhere embedded in stuff like clothing, appliances, vehicles, etc. Needless to say, ubiquitous computing can only occur if we have a secure computing environment and I suspect Fujitsu and PARC (along with many others) will spend many man-hours working on this difficult problem. { Ubiquitous Computing Research Spreads }

Computing::PeopleSoft Finally Says 'Yes' to Oracle
It has been a "war," but for $10.3B PeopleSoft is going to become part of Oracle. As of today (2004-12-17), the market values for Oracle and PeopleSoftware were $72.4B and $9.9B, respectively. { Welcome PeopleSoft}

RoadHacker::Rice, California -- Population Zero
There have been reports that the Tamarisk Shoe Tree has been burned down to a stump. Prior to the end of this year, RoadHacker is going to return to Rice, California.

[17 December 2004 (grades will be submitted later today; 60° at 8:15am) top]

Week Ending 10 December 2004

Computing::IBM Says 'Bye' to the PC Business
Computing giant IBM is leaving the PC (Personal Computer) business by selling to Lenovo. This transaction creates the world's "third-largest PC business with approximately US$12 billion annual revenue for 2003." IBM states the following: "In Lenovo we have a partner with powerful competitive capabilities in China and Asia and in consumer and desktop PCs." China... China... China. U.S. computer companies are excited about China (and other spots around the world). { Lenovo to Acquire IBM Personal Computing Division }

Computing::Re-Visiting Digitized Smells
Smell technology is going to only get better and better. In Japan, NTT customers can connect a device to their laptops that "receives aroma data from the central server and exudes fumes from the nozzle in accordance with that reading." { Japanese Telecom Tests Online Aromatherapy Service }

The last GDT posting about smells was a MOTD posting from the week ending 05 March 2004.

POTIE::Power Of The Internet Example
From Mill Avenue and SCC to Alan Ginsburg to to -- the power of Internet never ceases to hyperize me. May we all stay "forever young."

[10 December 2004 (one more week and Fall 2004 ends; 54° at 9:39am) top]

Week Ending 03 December 2004

Space::New GDT Resource -- Learning About Space
I am currently 47 1/2 years young and I am hoping to live to at least 80. Will I get to experience space travel? Just in case the answer turns out to be 'Yes,' learning about space seems prudent; consequently, GDT::Resource:: Learning About Space has been started.

Computing::About the Open Source Summit
I attended the Thursday (all day) and Friday (half day) Open Source Summit. I have lots to say about the experience, but that has become a work-in-progress (i.e. saved for another day). {}

[03 December 2004 (late posting on a great weather day; 66° at 4:57pm) top]

Week Ending 26 November 2004

Technology::It Only Takes 96 Bits
I attended a meeting of the Phoenix Nanotechnology Cluster on the use of nanotechnology to increase storage capacity. The speaker started out by saying it all about bits and bits and bits and more bits, but at the end of his presentation he said that there are some powerful applications currently usable today that require only 96 bits and those applications take advantage of RFID (Radio Frequency IDentifiers). { Innovative Uses of RFID Tags}

CNET Idea of implanting ID tags raises Orwellian fears [23 August 2004] does a good job explaining RFID.

Space::The House Knows Space Travel Will Happen
By a vote of 269 to 120, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5382 that seeks to "promote the nascent commercial human space flight industry while establishing a clear and balanced regulatory framework for space tourism." { House Passes Commercial Space Bill} A Conversation with Mike Deliman

Science::Looking For a Career?
Anal-Wart Researcher, Landfill Monitor, Nurse, Nosologist, Computer Help-Desk Tech, Public-School Science Teacher... Worst Jobs in Science: The Sequel

[26 November 2004 (sunny day after Thanksgiving; 67° at 12:55pm) top]

Week Ending 19 November 2004

Computing::California Considers Taxing Driving Miles
Many states raise money by taxing gas. With the increasing popularity of hybrid cars, some states are worried their gas tax revenues will decline. A California commission is considering taxing motorists based on the miles they drive, not the amount of gas they consume. Mileages will be tracked using in-car GPSes (Global Positioning Systems). { Mileage tax proposed for state's (CA) drivers }

Technology::Good News for Yucca Mountain?
The need to safely discard nuclear waste is a problem that confronts us today; however, Yucca will not be ready to receive waste material until 2010 at the earliest (if ever). These days waste material is being stored in concrete-and-steel casks and there are those who believe that these containers can hold the crap long enough for biotech and nanotech to come to the rescue. { A New Vision for Nuclear Waste} { Yucca Mountain Project}

Space::NASA's Scramjet Hits 9.8 Mach
On 16 November 2004, NASA's X-43A research vehicle flew nearly 10 times the speed of sound. The scramjet hit 9.8 Mach (approximately 7,000 mph) while flying at 110,000 feet. Congratulations NASA. { Hypersonic X-43A Takes Flight}

RoadHacker::Pittsburgh, PA (and Ohio and West Virginia)
I have returned from a five day/four night trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to attend the SC2004 Conference. { Slideshow}

[19 November 2004 (another great Arizona day awaiting us; 50° at 7:31am) top]

Week Ending 12 November 2004

Computing::About SC2004
I enjoyed attending the SC2004 Conference. I will be writing up a report over the span of the next couple of weeks. All GDT::Blog objects were updated today, but it was tough given this was a short week for me. I flew to Pittsburgh on Saturday and returned on Wednesday; consequently, this is a "stub" MOTD posting.

[12 November 2004 (late Friday afternoon posting; cool 70° at 3:09pm) top]

Week Ending 05 November 2004

Computing::Pike Does Slashdot
Rob Pike use to be a researcher at Bell Labs. These days he is a commander at Google. { Rob Pike Responds}

The following are a couple of Pike quotes.

   "Using Unix is the computing equivalent of listening 
    only to music by David Cassidy."

   "Grep was the definitive Unix tool early on; now we have 
    tools that could be characterized as `grep my machine' 
    and `grep the Internet'."

   "I think the future lies in new hardware as much as 
    in new software. A generation from now machines will 
    be so much more portable than they are now, so much 
    more powerful, so much more interactive that we haven't 
    begun to think about the changes they will bring. This 
    may be the biggest threat to Microsoft: the PC, the desktop, 
    the laptop, will all go the way of the slide rule. As one 
    example, when flexible organic semiconductor displays 
    roll out in a few years, the transformation in how and 
    where people use computers and other devices will be amazing. 
    It's going to be a wild ride."

GDT::Computing::Bit:: From 'grep' To 'google'

Computing/RoadHacker::Pittsburgh Here I Come
I am off to Pittsburgh, PA, to attend the Supercomputer 2004 Conference. { Pittsburgh Roadtrip Plan}

[05 November 2004 (2004 is nearing its end; 81° at 12:00pm) top]

Week Ending 22 October 2004

Technology::Top Ten Headlines
On 10 September 2004, I started the GDT::Headlines component. It is really a simple object in that it provides a list of timely headlines with no discussion and no hyperlinking. To date I am only recording Internet related headlines which are quickly reviewed in my CSC185/CIS133DA class. My thinking is that longer term each GDT::Blog posting will include a hyperlink to that week's headlines for that specific blog's topic. For example, the Internet Observer will hyperlink to that week's GDT::Headlines::Internet. Here are the Internet Headlines for the Week Ending 22 October 2004.

At the end of the 21 October 2004 Unix class, RobertL showed me a command-line that he wrote that presents world headlines to him everytime he longs into our Unix computer at SCC. He gets the headlines from Note: also provides a webpage that gives the Top Ten Tech Headlines.

Technology::Digital Cameras Can Help Us Drive Safely
Digital cameras are being developed that can be used to help drivers drive safely. The cameras are installed in vehicles and are part of an "automotive vision system." Some cameras scan a driver's eye movements, while others "photo" outside activity (like people, animals, signs, etc).

RoadHacker::Thurman Goes To Washington, DC
I have returned from a five day/four night fly/drive trip to our nation's capital. The primary purpose of the trip was to attend the 2004 annual meeting of the CPSR, but I also used the time to visit a variety of places located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and, of course, Washington, DC. My roadtrip report is still a work-in-progress.

[22 October 2004 (cooler temperatures have arrived; 57° at 7:35am) top]

Week Ending 15 October 2004

RoadHacker::Thurman Goes To Washington
It took me 47 years, but I have finally made it to our nation's capital. On Saturday, 16 October 2004, I will be attending the CPSR 2004 Annual Meeting at Georgetown University. The day before the meeting I will do a short roadtrip that includes visits to Gettysburg in Pennsylvania followed by a drive on US Highway-50 through the "heart" of Internet country in Fairfax county Virginia. The day after the meeting I will roam our country's National Mall (here a monument, there a monument, everywhere a monument). {GDT::Fun:: Thurman's Washington, DC Roadtrip Plan}

This year's CPSR annual meeting will focus on our government's "information and communication technology (ICT) policy and the governance of the information society." { Making the Grade? A Report Card on US Policies for the Information Society}

[14 October 2004 (a rare Thursday posting; 73° at 4:30am) top]

Week Ending 08 October 2004

Computing::Marc Andreessen Predicting a Browser WWII
The Internet Observer has been observing an increasing battle between browsers. In large part this is due to Microsoft's poor computing practices when it comes to their security-defective Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft used its monopoly of the "desktop" to easily win the first browser war against Netscape. These days, however, things are different. Yes, Microsoft still monopolizes the "desktop," but Open Source is becoming "popular" and computer users now have numerous alternative browsers available to them. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and current Chairman of Opsware, is predicting another browser war is in the making. This will be especially true if Google does gbrowser and if AOL continues working on a stand-alone browser. { Andreessen Predicts New Browser Wars Ahead}

Technology::Ray Kurzweil Wants To Stay Forever Young
Ray Kurzweil, world famous technologist, "takes 250 nutritional supplements a day in his quest to live long enough to reap the benefits he expects from biotechnology. He says he's trying to reprogram his body, as he would his computer." Kurzweil believes there are three "bridges" to immortality.

  1. Today, we need to follow a healthy living program designed to correct "metabolic imbalances" and keep people alive long enough to benefit from the second stage of biotechnology advances.
  2. Stage two, a decade or so away, biotechnology advances will allow "diseases to be blocked and the aging process to be slowed."
  3. Stage three, about 30 years away, nanotechnology will allow humans to radically rebuild and extend their bodies with help from "nanobots, itsy-bitsy robots smaller than human blood cells that will slip into our bloodstreams to fix DNA errors, fight pathogens and expand intelligence."
{ Kurzweil's Quest For Eternal Youth Sets Group Abuzz }

Computing::Kim Polese Does Open Source
Kim Polese has become head of SpikeSource. SpikeSource, which was founded during May of 2003, will "use the Net to provide an easy way for companies to install and manage their information technology operating systems and software." SpikeSource will focus exclusively on Open Source. { Productizing Open Source Software}

Side-Bar Comment::This Was a DreamTeam Friday
Marc Andreessen, Ray Kurzweil and Kim Polese are all members of the GDT:: DreamTeam.

[08 October 2004 (another sunny day ahead of us; 66° at 7:15am) top]

Week Ending 01 October 2004

Computing::Learning About Out-Sourcing From the ACM
The ACM is the Association for Computing Machinery. It was founded in 1947 and currently has about 75,000 members worldwide. The ACM publishes numerous computing related materials and I find the Queue extremely useful. With out-sourcing being a 2004 hot topic, it is only natural the Queue would write about it. { What Global Sourcing Means for U.S. IT Works and for the U.S. Economy }

Space::Learning About the Space Elevator The Space Elevator Companies [lift-off scheduled for 12 April 2018] What is the Space Elevator? [ISR: Institute for Scientific Research] Space elevator [62,000 miles of carbon nanotubes] Space Elevator: Momentum Building

Computing::Ogo Confirms That POT (Plain-Old-Text) Is Hot
AT&T has created a device named Ogo that will be used only for email and instant messaging; i.e. no voice. Ogo will be marketed to teens and it does not sync to PCs. Recent studies indicate that "62% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 27 send instant messages." [source::Pew Internet and American Life] { AT&T Unveils Text-Only Wireless Device Aimed at Teens}

[01 October 2004 (ATF meeting this AM at MCC; a cool 65° at 6:30am) top]

Week Ending 24 September 2004

GNR::Arizona Republic Supports Proposition 102
Last week postings to GDT::Blog::Computing Bits and GDT::Blog::Nanotech Smallblog were both about the importance of passing Proposition 102 (also called "Tech Transfer"). On 22 September 2004, the Arizona Republic printed an editorial in which they supported passage of Prop. 102. { Republic:: Stake in high tech}

Technology::Learning About Geekism
Merriam-Webster Online defines a geek as follows: "1) a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake" and "2) a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of." The Webopedia defines geek as "an individual with a passion for computers, to the exclusion of other normal human interests." The Wikipedia says a geek is a "person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media." The Wikipedia also claims a geek is a "person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest." Bottom-line: Geeks take on many forms. { You Might Be a Geek If...} { Geek}

Money::Forbes 400 Richest in America
Thanks to the success of Microsoft, Bill Gates and Paul Allen ranked numbers one and three on the list. Warren Buffett was number two. Positions 4-8 were Waltons of Wal-Mart fame followed by Michael Dell (Dell Computers) and Larry Ellison (Oracle). In other words, 40% of the top 10 were technologists and 50% of the list were Waltons. Bill Gates is 48 years old and has a net worth of approximately $48 billion. Google's two 31 year old co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are both worth $4 billion. Yahoo's co-founder, David Filo (age 38), is worth $2.6 billion. { Forbes 400 Richest in America  |  Richest Techies}

[24 September 2004 (busy Friday for me so an early posting; 70° at 5:20am) top]

Week Ending 17 September 2004

Computing::University of Phoenix Uses Spam To Recruit Bodies
Arizona Republic front-page headline on Tuesday, 14 September 2004: "Student-recruitment tactics blasted by feds." The Republic's sub-headline: "Univ. of Phoenix audit leads to $9.8 mil fine."

On 01 May 2003 I wrote a GDT::Computing::Bit titled We Are Losing Our Computing Freedoms. Here is a quote from that bit.

	A U.S. Representative is planning to introduce the 
	Restrict and Eliminate Delivery of Unsolicited Commercial 
	E-mail (REDUCE) Spam Act. The REDUCE spam Act will pay a 
	bounty to persons who report spammers. [I want to report 
	the University of Phoenix, DeVry University and Kaplan 
	College (just to name a few).]

In other words, on 01 May 2003, I called the University of Phoenix a spammer and this week's Arizona Republic story confirms my accusation. It must be noted, however, that the Republic did not report anything about the Univesity of Phoenix spamming practices. I would also like to note that it has been a while since I've been spammed by the University of Phoenix; therefore, maybe they have learned that spamming is bad (and in some cases illegal).

FoodHacker::A New Spam Recipe; Cooking For Engineers
A SCC student gave a spam recipe that I implemented using tuna instead of spam and it resulted in an tasty tuna mac casserole. { Homemakers Holiday Casserole} is a website that is much more serious about doing food right. Its motto: "Have an analytical mind? Like to cook? This is the site to read!"

[17 September 2004 (another sunny day awaits; 91° at 10:25am) top]

911:: Freedom Quote Giver

New Freedom Quote: We must have the freedom to speak and the freedom to hear.
-- Vinton Cerf { co-creator of the Internet; RFC 3271 published in 2002 }

Old Freedom Quote: Grandpa died like a hero, fighting for freedom of silence.
-- Neil Young { Grampa's Interview from the Greendale album}

911:: Tempe Hosts a Healing Field

[11 September 2004 top]

Week Ending 10 September 2004

Computing::Slashdot Does Politics
2004 is a election year and as a result has started a new section on their website to support and promote various and sundry political discussions. These days we must start demanding that our politicians be computer-literate otherwise we will continue to see a loss of computing freedoms. { Politics for Nerds. Your Vote Matters.}

Computing::California Government Should Think About FLOSS
The San Jose Mercury News (the newspaper of Silicon Valley) published an editorial about how the state of California should consider FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) when it comes time to purchase software. I agree. In fact, the Maricopa County Community College District should do the same. { Explore Open Source Alternatives}

GDT::DeadTeam::New Member -- Bob Evans
Bob Evans was one of three key designers of the IBM System/360. Evans died on 09 September 2004 at the age of 77. The System/360 was introduced by IBM on 07 April 1964. Bob Evans has been added to the GDT::DeadTeam. { In Memory of Bob Evans}

[10 September 2004 (week #3 comes to an end; 100° at 11:38am) top]

Week Ending 03 September 2004

GDT::Mailing-Lists Shutdown
I have shutdown all of my mailing-lists ('CSZero', 'AzUnix', 'ppp', 'Internet', 'hpc', and 'RedDrawf'). The CSZero::Learning About Computing mailing-list was the oldest having been started as a YahooGroup on 12 October 1999. There are no immediate plans to start any new mailing-lists.

GDT::Teams::Dream and Dead
Alan Key and Doug McIlroy are the leading candidates for being this semester's additions to the GDT:: DreamTeam. {GDT::DreamTeam:: Fall 2004 Nominees}

Jim Ellis, a co-creator of Usenet, died in 2001 at the young age of 45. Jim's contributions to computing were significant and I apologize to him for taking three years to add him to the GDT:: DeadTeam.

EDU::Six Must-Have Gadgets For College Students
Forbes has created a slideshow of electronic devices they feel college students need. Sadly, most of these toys are for either rich students or students willing to take on debt. Total cost for the six gadgets comes to $2,845 and that excludes taxes and shipping, nor does it include the cost of the Zen Portable Media Center by Creative Labs. [The Zen Portable Media Center "enables portability of up to 85 hours of movies, 9,000 songs, or up to tens of thousands of photos on a sleek, handheld device."] I admit it would be fun to have "saucer silver" colored Area-51m notebook computer from Alienware, but if you configure this computer as recommended by Alienware, then its price jumps from $2,100+ to $4,400+. Yikes. { Six Must-Have Gadgets For College Students } { Area-51m Details} { Zen Portable Media Center}

[03 September 2004 (it is Labor Day weekend; another sunny day in Arizona; 97° at 12:30pm) top]

Week Ending 27 August 2004

EDU::Colleges Enabling Book Publishers To Gouge Students
I want to extend a Thank You to the Arizona Republic for reporting about the high cost of college text books. (Valley and State section on Wednesday, 25 August 2004) Prior to learning about the newspaper's article, I had told my boss at SCC that (quoting myself) "I don't know why a Basic Arithmetic book in the 21st Century cost $100." He replied by telling me to stop complaining. In a nutshell, colleges are enabling book publishers to gouge their students. $100 for a Basic Arithmetic books is not a complaint; it is a joke. [Due to the Arizona Republic's archive practices, the following hyperlink will soon become linkrot. { Muscling down college textbook costs}]

WWW::Playboy Magazine Interviews the Founders of Google
Google, which has become one of the most famous companies in the world, went public on Thursday, 19 August 2004. Prior to their IPO, the founders of Google were interviewed by Playboy Magazine and it is an excellent read. Playboy has posted part of their Google interview to

Foo::Miscellaneous Fun Stuff
The Fall 2004 semester is only a week old, yet I have already had lots of fun.

   Student:  You remind me of my father.
   Thurman:  You must have a cool father.

I showed the MAT082 classes the Etch-a-Sketch FAQ and Perpetual Bubble-Wrap. In the future they will probably see Dyseducational Road Movie and Mouse Chaser.

On Wednesday, while walking to my car, a couple of students that I didn't know stopped and told me that I look like Tommy Chong. On Thursday, while walking past the snack bar on the way to my office, I kept hearing some people yelling "hey Jerry... hey Jerry..." Some people at SCC call me Jerry so I turned around and there was a table of students (none of whom I knew) yelled -- "It's Jerry Garcia."

   Student:  I'm taking CSCnnn [...].  I'm also taking
             it because the instructor teaching it rocks.

   Thurman:  Thank You (I think).

I received the following quote from a student. { Funny Quotes}

   "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."
   -- Ozzy Osbourne

[27 August 2004 (it is a bright, sunny, blue-sky day; 99° at 12:19pm) top]

Week Ending 20 August 2004

SCC::Welcome to Scottsdale Community College
I became a full-time faculty member at SCC during the Fall 1997 semester; therefore, Fall 2004 begins my 15th semester of learning and teaching with Artie Artichoke.

GDT::Learning About Computing [CSZero]
GDT (formerly ThurmUnit) is about Learning About Computing. Emphasis is on developing secure, usable, reliable, and efficient Internet-based systems using FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software). GDT has been practicing its motto of Learn It, Do It, Teach It since fall of 1997.

GDT is primarily a collection of resources devoted to learning about specific areas of computing; however, over time, GDT content has expanded beyond the field of computing. Some example GDT::Resource objects are: Learning About Unix Systems, Learning About the Internet and WWW, Learning About Programming Using C, Learning About Programming Using Java, Learning About Computer Security, Learning About Biotechnology, Learning About Nanotechnology, Learning About Low-Priced Technology Stocks, and so on. The long-term plan is to use the hightech, biotech, and nanotech GDT content as input to the CSZero::Learning About Hightech, Biotech, and Nanotech program at SCC. {GDT:: About GDT "Learning About" Resources}

GDT::MOTD::Message Of The Day
The MOTD (Message Of The Day) was started during the fall of 1997 and it is essentially what is referred to as a weblog or blog. Postings to the MOTD occur at random times on Friday. Each MOTD posting usually contains three items. Most MOTD postings are computer related; however, exceptions do occur. The MOTD is usually updated when non-religious holidays take place.

Since 1997, the MOTD has spawned numerous other GDT::Blogs like the Internet Observer and the Security Watchdog and the Unix & Linux Logger, etc. {GDT::Speaks:: About GDT Blogs}

[20 August 2004 (fall 2004 begins; 80° at 4:47am) top]

GDT::MOTD::Archive:: Summer 2004

Author: Gerald D. Thurman []
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:46 MST

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