MOTD::Archive::Fall 2007 (29 December 2007)

Summer 2007 MOTD

Week Ending 29 December 2007

EDU::I Say It's Bullfoo

   "Students today are not the same as those of 10, or even 20, 
    years ago.  Today's students expect to move faster.  They 
    are required to know more.  They need to learn things now.  
    They need to be challenged."

Students should "expect the unexpected;" in other words, if they "expect to move faster," then we move slower. I fail to see why students of "today" need to "learn things now." Doesn't everybody want to learn stuff as quickly as possible? I guess students of 10, or even 20, years ago sat around wanting to be bored.

Technology::Ocean Wave Power?
I never thought about generating energy from ocean waves, but I have experienced the power of ocean waves.

   "Oregon is looking to draw power from the waves that pound 
    its coast with forbidding efficiency."

Time and time again there are roadblocks to finding alternative forms of energy and ocean waves are no exception.

   "I don't want it in my fishing grounds.  I don't want to 
    be worried about driving around someone else's 
    million-dollar buoy."

NYTimes.com:: Efforts to Harvest Ocean's Energy Open New Debate Front

RoadHacker::Palms Springs Via Yuma
3-day, 969 mile, roadtrip with one night in Yuma, AZ, and a second night in Palm Springs, CA. Quartszite. Palm Canyon in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Yuma Proving Grounds. Imperial Dam (CA). Betty's Kitchen Wildlife and Interpretive Area. Downtown Yuma at sunrise. Mexico border town of San Luis, AZ. Yuha Desert (CA). Crucifixion Thorn National Area (CA). California Anza-Borrego State Park. Borrego Springs, CA. Font's Point (CA). Sunset at the Salton Sea, CA. Sunrise at the Palm Springs Amtrak station. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. California's San Jacinto State Park. General Patton Memorial Museum.

RoadHacker:: Yuma and Palm Springs Roadtrip

MOTD::Last Fall 2007 Posting
This is the final MOTD posting for the Fall 2007 session. The Spring 2008 MOTD, version 32, will be instantiated on 1 January 2008. Someday I will go through the MOTD archive and fix its massive linkrot. The MOTD does not have a fixed birthdate. I consider the MOTD's birthdate to be 13 December 1997, which was the date version of the MOTD was archived. {GDT::MOTD Archive}

[30 December 2007 (Sunday morning posting; 38° at 5:58am) top]


Week Ending 22 December 2007

Computing::Happy Birthday To Perl
Perl was created by Larry Wall during 1987. On 18 December 2007, many people around the world said Happy Birthday Perl!

Perl is a popular programming language that is an excellent tool for processing text and Larry Wall is a guru computer programmer.

Computing::Learning About Programming
I attended the Techie Tuesday on 11 December 2007. I made a comment about how every high-school student should be able to write simple computer programs. I was asked what programming language is the best first language and my response was something like the following.

   I'd have you learn how to use a Unix system from the 
   command-line.  Once you've learned the command-line
   and a text editor, you would write programs in BASH.
   Avoid C++ as a first language. 

I also had a chance to promote Linux, GIMP and OpenOffice.

Future::Nearing The End Of 02007
Altair Nanotechnologies provided battery power to an electronic-dragster that breaks the e-dragster speed record (one-quarter mile in 8.1 seconds). Cray sells a 27 teraflops XT4(TM) supercomputer to Japan's National Astronomical Observatory for use in its Center for Computational Astrophysics. iRobot receives a $286 million contract from the Army for potentially 3,000 robots. Google creating a Googlepedia (21st century Informatics). TGen/Poste/Keim--bioscience and the Age of Genomics. NASA astronauts doing spacewalks. Nanosolar ships a megawatt solar panel thanks to its "ability to 'print' the solar material onto flexible panels made of metal."

[22 December 2007 (it's a chilly Saturday morning in Tempe; 39° at 5:57am) top]


Week Ending 15 December 2007

Computing::Documentary Coming Soon--"Invisible Computers"
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was the first all-electronic programmable computer.

   "During World War II the Army ran out of male mathematicians 
    and turned to six women to program the world's first computer 
    - ENIAC. Historian Kathy Kleiman has recorded oral histories 
    of these women - now in their 80s - in her upcoming documentary 
    film, 'Invisible Computers.'"

Kleiman is 100% correct when she writes: "The names of Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kathleen Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum (D) and Frances Bilas Spence belong in our history books and computer courses."

Women in computing remains an oxymoronic phrase.

   "Figures from the National Science Foundation show women earn 
    more than half of all bachelor's degrees in science, yet fewer 
    than 25 percent take computer science. By comparison, women 
    represent 59 percent of all graduates in biology and agricultural 
    sciences and 47 percent of math degrees."

Computing::2008 Official Start Of The Red Shift?
Is 2008 the year the "Red Shift" begins in earnest?

In a nutshell, Red Shift is "supplying scale efficient infrastructure to deal with the last=mile bandwidth, high-performance computing and on-demand applications."

According to Dan Farber, vice-president of editorial at CNET Networks and editor in chief of ZDNet, the Red Shift "may express a faint red tinge next year, but it will take at least a decade for a substantive phase change."

SeekingAlpha.com:: Sun Anticipating the 'Red Shift'

RoadHacker::800 Mile Roadtrip To Palm Springs
We were going to go to the Grand Canyon, but instead Tyler and I are off to Palm Springs, California, via Yuma, Arizona. {RoadHacker:: Winter Break 2007 Canyons Road Trip}

[13 December 2007 (Thursday posting due to travel plans; 63° at 3:40pm) top]


Week Ending 08 December 2007

Computing::Having Fun With Error Messages
Marc Andreessen posted the following error message to his blog.

   "Microsoft Windows Vista's Windows Problem Reporting app  
    is reporting that it has a problem and can no longer 
    report. However, it will report in the future if there 
    is a fix to the problem that is preventing it from reporting, 
    that will allow it to once again report."

Sounds problematic to me. It reminds me of seeing messages that indicate your computer needs to be re-booted, but the fails re-boot because the shutdown procedure encounters an error.

   computer:  please re-boot this computer
       user:  reboot
   computer:  sorry, can't re-boot this computer

Computing::We Need To Extend What Is Meant By Long-Term
Kudos to Sir Tim Berners-Lee for speaking up and kudos to Financial Times for posting their interview with him.

   "I think there's a lot of concern the web companies
    are thinking short-term." -- Tim Berners-Lee

And of Sir Tim is correct when he says stuff like the following.

   "Because it's so easy to make a Web 2.0 site you can 
    clone a lot of them very easily, and as a result people 
    are bringing out new sites with a modicum of new polish 
    on them - but they're not really thinking up the new ideas."

I want to switch from three-month quarters to one-year quarters, but the chances that that happening are probably nil.

FT.com:: Web founder warns of short-termism

Math::U.S. and Mexico Bringing Up The Bottom
The PISA test "measures the ability of 15-year-olds to apply math and science knowledge in real-life contexts. About 400,000 students, including 5,600 in the United States, took the 2006 exam." Overall, Finland finished 1st and Mexico finished last. PISA is the Programme for International Student Assessment.

"In math, four countries had average scores lower than the United States. Students in 23 countries had a higher average score, and those in two countries did about the same as the Americans." Math scores were basically unchanged from the the last time PISA was given 2003.

WashingtonPost.com:: U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test

[08 December 2007 (another rainy Saturday; 54° at 5:28am) top]


Week Ending 01 December 2007

Technology::Sustainability is a Keyword
On 11/28/2007, Joanna Allhands, Southeast Valley editorial writer for the Arizona Republic, posted an item to her "Plugged In" blog titled: "Is sustainability more than a buzzword?" Allhands posting was a comment on Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman's annual State of the City address. I attempted to answer Allhands' question.

   posted by Gerald9588  on Nov 29, 2007 at 05:21 AM 

   Yes, sustainability is a buzzword; however, it is also a keyword 
   (i.e. a buzzword that is worthy of its buzz).  Biotechnology advances 
   (which are being magnified thanks to supercomputing and nanotechnology) 
   are going to enable us to experience expanded lifetimes.  Now what do 
   we do? Sustainability is an issue because we have a skewed definition 
   of "long-term."

   http://longnow.org

   We need more leaders like Wade Adams who  is out there pleading 
   with young people to "become a scientist--save the world!"

   http://aznano.org/uploads/Wade_Adams_Keynote.pdf

MCCCD::Pays $50,000 To Settle Discrimination Suit
An IT professional who has worked for the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) for 11 years filed a lawsuit a couple years ago alleging they were denied promotions due to discrimination. The IT profession is a meritocracy; therefore, I hope the MCCCD gave this person a "test" before handing over $50,000. I hope the MCCCD brought in an independent group of 3-5 computer professionals--who provided their time for free --to give the person a test before handing over $50,000. IT dinosaurs are quickly discovered and IT dinosaurs never merit promotion. I hope the MCCCD didn't give $50,000 to an IT dinosaur.

MCCCD::Drowning In Old Text Books
The following was copied from the "approved minutes" from the 13 November 2007 meeting of the FEC (Faculty Executive Council). "A point was made that Council needed to make the administration understand that the textbooks sent for review are not District property." My office is full of old textbooks and the District (and Maricopa County taxpayers) own them. Luckily, I don't receive many textbooks anymore.

[01 December 2007 (record rainfall yesterday; 61° at 7:28am) top]


Week Ending 24 November 2007

Computing::Companies Lose Brains
I've been reading about a "brain drain" at Yahoo! Now somebody says the same thing is happening at Google. I have no doubt employees come and go. I also have no doubt Yahoo! and Google wished they could keep all the brains they hire. Companies have had to battle brain drainage for decades and there is no reason to believe Yahoo! and Google would be immune to this reality.

SeekingAlpha.com:: A Google Brain Drain?

RoadHacker::Iron Mountain Sign Pole
On 7 November 2007, RoadTripAmerica.com used my picture of the Iron Mountain Sign Pole as their "Featured Roadside Marvel." In addition, my picture of Iraqi Freedom mural in Twentynine Palms, California, was selected as their "Featured Roadside Mural."

GDT::6000+ Pages Spidered By FreeFind
The GDT website has always used FreeFind.com for its search engine. Every 7-10 days, FreeFind spiders the website and sends me an email message indicating how many webpages were indexed. On 23 November 2007, for the first time the number of webpages indexed exceeded 6,000 (6,015 to be exact). Many years ago I wrote a shell script to count the different types of files stored on the GDT website. Here is the output from the script.

   # directories: 2415
   # files: 19692
      # html: 12822
      # c: 117
      # c++: 193
      # java: 354
      # gif: 551
      # jpg: 1147
      # javscript: 37
      # perl: 15
      # txt: 666
   # bytes total: 198M

[24 November 2007 (damn... it's getting cold; 50° at 6:10am) top]


Week Ending 17 November 2007

Technology::ASU's Decision Theater
I enjoyed taking a tour of ASU's Decision Theater. It's a great resource and the goal is to have a bunch of Decision Theaters scattered around the world. A few days after my tour, Katie Nelson had a blog posting titled "a doozy of a tour" that started as follows.

   "Last week, the Tempe City Council reviewed a snappy new 
    tool it can use for hawking the city's downtown, Town Lake 
    and Papago Park areas. Inside the "drum" of Arizona State 
    University's Decision Theatre, the mayor led the council 
    and about a dozen city staff through an animated 3-D program 
    that gives video snapshots of highlights in the north section 
    of the city."

I guess some people got queasy during the presentation/simulation.

Nelson quoted Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman saying the following to program controllers.

   "You should probably stop. I think several of us are 
    getting sick to our stomachs."

And of course I had to make a comment.

   posted by Gerald9588 on Nov 14, 2007 at 05:23 AM

   Potentially dangerous quote--were they sick because of 
   perceived "motion" caused by the simulation or was it 
   because they were observing how Tempe might not be the 
   smart place to be?

  This is terrible publicity for ASU's Decision Theater.

ASU's Decision Theater might need a sign that says: "Grab barf bag upon entering."

Technology::Gore Here, Gore There, Gore Everywhere
Al Gore is following in Bill Joy's footsteps...

   "The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former vice president 
    joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as it and dozens 
    of other venture firms headquartered in Silicon Valley expand 
    beyond software, computer hardware, the Internet and biotechnology 
    to so-called 'clean-tech' investments worldwide."

Joy was named a partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers during January of 2005. Joy has been quoted saying: "My method is to look at something that seems like a good idea and assume it's true."

Bill Joy, who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, is a GDT::DreamTeam member.

[Extra] During 2003, Gore joined Apple's Board of Directors. Gore is also a senior adviser to Google.

Wired.com:: The Resurrection of Al Gore

Math::I Walk Find The Line
"I Walk The Line" is a song by Johnny Cash and it has the following chorus.

   "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
    I keep my eyes wide open all the time
    I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
    Because you're mine, I walk the line"

The chorus algebratized...

   I keep a close watch on these slopes of mine
   I keep my intercepts labeled all the time
   I keep points for a function as it binds
   Because it's assigned, I find the line

What's meant by "binds?"

The word bind has many meanings and one of those meanings is "to tie together." Functions "tie together" inputs with their respective outputs. A point (i.e. ordered-pair) is used to bind a specific input with its respective output.

What's up with the phrase "because it's assigned?"

In algebra classes we are often assigned the task of finding an equation for a line.

YouTube.com::Johnny Cash "I Walk The Line" ... MathBabbler "I Find The Line

[17 November 2007 (winter break travel plans are undefined; 62° at 5:50am) top]


Week Ending 10 November 2007

Robotics::2007 DARPA Urban Challenge
I attended the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge on Nov. 4th. Carnegie Mellon came in 1st and won $2 million. Stanford was 2nd winning $1 million and Virginia Tech was awarded $500,000 for finishing 3rd.

Math::From Signs to Lines
It's linear function time in MAT090 and the MathBabbler posted the following to his blog on 11/8/2007.

"Signs" is a song by the Five Man Electrical Band and it has the following chorus.

   "Sign Sign everywhere a sign
    Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
    Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign"

Let's morph the "Signs" chorus for a song titled "Lines."

   Line Line everywhere a line
   Increasing, decreasing, sloping through my mind
   Parallel this, intercept that, can't you find the line

Computing::From Spam to SPAM
On 25 October 2007 my gdt at deru dot com email address got hit hard by spam. The spam continued throughout the next day and the next and the next. In a nutshell, spam continues to be a huge problem and spammers are criminals (or at least that is how they should be treated).

We went to the Arizona State Fair on the afternoon of 26 October 2007 and the first thing we encountered upon entering the fairgrounds was SPAM. (Note: there are even more SPAM at the 2006 Arizona State Fair.)

Foo::Who Needs NASCAR?
The Arizona Republic had a front-page story about NASCAR coming to the Valley of the Sun. On this day the Republic was the Arizona Crapublic. I sent the following as a Letter to the Editor.

   Who needs NASCAR when you can drive the east-side Loop 101 
   from Tempe to Scottsdale?  I enter the northbound Loop 101 
   in south Tempe every weekday at 6:00am and I am constantly 
   thrilled at the expert driving I witness.  In addition to 
   cars, the Loop 101 features utility trucks, large SUVs and 
   cement trucks driving at high-speeds.  Many Loop 101 drivers 
   are saving lots of fuel given the way they draft the vehicles
   in front of them.  I admit to not seeing any wrecks, but it is 
   only a matter of time before we have a big one (and it will be 
   a killer).  Thanks to the Loop 101, everyday is a NASCAR day.

[10 November 2007 (long roadtrip over winter break???; 62° at 5:34am) top]


Week Ending 03 November 2007

Robotics::DARPA Grand Challenge 2007
None of the 35 semi-finalist teams are from Arizona. California (6), Utah (3), Colorado (2), Texas (2), Louisiana (2), Florida (2), Michigan (2), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (2), Maryland (2), Ohio (2), New York (2), Georgia (1), Wisconsin (1), Indiana (1), Massachuesetts (1), North Carolina (1) and New Jersey (1).

DARPA wanted to have 20 teams in the finals, but only 11 of the 35 finalists made it into the finals.

RoadHacker::Heading for Victorville, California
The roadtrip to the DARPA Grand Challenge will include visits to San Bernardino and some driving on Route 66. While in Victorville, we plan on visiting the Route 66 Museum. The roadtrip home will be via Twentynine Palms and includes a stop at the milepage pole sign located along CA Hwy-62 at Iron Mnt. Pump Plant Road.

RoadHacker:: DARPA Grand Challenge 2007 Roadtrip Plan

Foo::It's Only a Matter of Time...
before the Loop 101 becomes a Killer 101. The EastValleyTribune.com reported the following on 30 October 2007.

   Headline: "Three hurt in fiery Loop 101 collision"
   "Three people were injured, including one seriously, in a 
    three-vehicle collision in the southbound lane of the Loop 
    101 freeway near the Indian School Road exit this afternoon."

The crash happened at 3:30pm, which is somewhat surprising because at that time the southbound Loop 101 can be a parking lot. It's tough to have a "fiery crash" when vehicles are crawling along. My prediction is that there will be a major pile-up during a weekday on northbound Loop 101 during the 5:30am-6:30am time frame.

[03 November 2007 (rare Thursday posting... I'm in Victorville, CA; 86° at 3:17pm) top]


Week Ending 27 October 2007

Computing::Microsoft Buys 1.6% Stake In Facebook
Microsoft is investing $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Palo Alto, CA-based Facebook. Last year Yahoo! offered $1 billion for Facebook, but Microsoft's investment values Facebook at about $15 billion.

Facebook was started by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard University dorm room less than four years ago.

As of late-October 2007, Facebook had approximately 50 million active users.

Blog.pMarcA.com:: You have to love this industry

Nanotech::Nanonewbies Event #0 At SCC
The following email message was sent to the Maricopa.edu "Announcements" distribution list.

   The Nanotech for Nanonewbies Cluster will be presenting an
   "Introduction to Nanotechnology" talk followed by a panel
   discussion.

   Panel members will include three SCC faculty representing
   the disciplines of chemistry/material science, biology and
   computing. At least two panel members will be from the
   Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster representing the fields
   of physics/device engineering and law.

   All students/faculty/staff are invited.

   Date: Thursday, 25 October 2007
   Time: 12:00pm to 1:00pm
   Where: PS-177N (Northeast corner of the Physical Science building)

   ---

   The Nanotech for Nanonewbies Cluster was started with four 
   SCC faculty members and four students during the early part 
   of the fall 2007 semester.

   The Nanotech for Nanonewbies Cluster at SCC was started with
   help from the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster (http://aznano.org).

Learning about nanotechnology at SCC is happening. Now we need to see if we can keep it going.

Robotics::Welcome To Our Home, Roomba
We have become a shareholder in Burlington, MA-based iRobot Corp. and we have acquired an iRobot Roomba® robotic vacuum. According to the iRobot website: "Life happens in busy homes. Stay ahead of messy floors with the touch of a button! Smart and efficient iRobot Roomba lifts an amazing amount of dirt, dust, pet hair, cat litter, crumbs and other debris from your carpets and hard floors." When it comes time to replace our current pool system, there's a good chance we'll try an iRobot Verro pool cleaning robot. Here a robot, there a robot, everywhere a robot? Yeck, someday we might have a family of robots.

RoadHacker::Bisbee AZ (2-nights) and San Diego CA (1-night)

[27 October 2007 (DARPA Grand Challenge next weekend; 68° at 5:41am) top]


Week Ending 20 October 2007

MCCCD::IT Problems Won't Go Away
The faculty at Glendale Community College (GCC) has issued a statement of "no confidence" in the MCCCD's IT operations. Faculty district-wide are considering following GCC's lead. I am concerned that the MCCCD will use its IT snafus to explain away enrollment issues; it will be a fib if they do.

The following log helps explain why MCCCD faculty are annoyed with MCCCD's IT practices.

   The SCC HelpDesk sent out an email message that had the following
   "Sent" date and time stamp:  Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:20:12 -0700

   Blackboard going down at 2:30pm and it is expected to be
   back up within the hour.

   Wednesday, 29 August 2007, is the middle of second week.
   I had class today and it was 1st assessment day.  If it
   had been a 2:30 class, just being down at 2:30 for a minute
   would have resulted in starting class late.

   down... Wed, 29 Aug 2007 14:20:12 -0700
   up..... Wed, 29 Aug 2007 16:45:43 -0700

   Sent:  Fri, 31 Aug 2007 15:46:28 -0700
   District has announced that Blackboard will be
   taken down today at 4:00 p.m. in order to put
   new code in place and do initial testing in the
   production environment. It is estimated to be
   back up within an hour.

   Sent:  Fri, 31 Aug 2007 18:05:00 -0700
   As of 5:40 p.m. Blackboard services were back online.

   Down at 09:30 PM tonight.  The application will be
   down until approximately 4:00 AM tomorrow.  Email
   sent at 5:51AM announcing BB was up.

   Email that was generated on a Thursday at 6:30pm, but
   not received until approximately 7:30am on Friday.
   "Please note that Blackboard will be down for maintenance
   tomorrow morning, Friday between 5:15am and 6:30am."

There has been more of this stuff, but I've got better things to do (like my job) than be an IT watchdog for the MCCCD.

AzCentral.com::Blog:: $45 million computer system still not working

Foo::Just Build The Fence
The Arizona Republic is helping U.S. politicians raise a stink (i.e. play politics, which always stinks) about the border fence being constructed with steel from China. A posting by Linda Valdez prompted me to the make the following comment.

   posted by Gerald9588  on Oct 19, 2007 at 05:25 AM

   I agree with ms15 and Bren4824--get the fence built.  Too 
   bad our robotic technology isn't about a decade further along.

[20 October 2007 (attendance in my classes suck; 65° at 6:01am) top]


Week Ending 13 October 2007

GDT::Three Dickson Quotes Worthy of Saving
Paul Dickson had an editorial printed in the Arizona Republic about the United States needing another 'Sputnik moment.' As a result, the following three Dickson quotes were added to GDT::Quotes.

When working toward the solution of a problem,
it always helps if you know the answer.

-- Paul Dickson (?????-?????) { American freelance writer; more... } [life]

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you
recognize a mistake when you make it again.

-- Paul Dickson (?????-?????) { American freelance writer; more... } [experience]

Rowe's Rule: the odds are five to six that the light at the
end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train.

-- Paul Dickson (?????-?????) { American freelance writer; more... } [fate]

Computing::Google and IBM's Education Initiative
This is going to be an upcoming Computing::Bit...

Headline: "Google and IBM Announce University Initiative to Address Internet-Scale Computing Challenges." The press release started with the following.

   "Google and IBM announced an initiative to promote new 
    software development methods which will help students 
    and researchers address the challenges of Internet-scale 
    applications in the future."

   "The goal of this initiative is to improve computer science 
    students' knowledge of highly parallel computing practices 
    to better address the emerging paradigm of large-scale 
    distributed computing. [...]"

On 13 October 2007, Google and IBM had a stock market values of $198.95 billion and $160.27 billion, respectively. I find it amazing that Google's market value exceeds IBM's by more than $38 billion. GOOG was at $637.39 and IBM was at $117.81.

MCCCD::Looking for Wasteful Spending
The MCCCD faculty are looking for ways to eliminate wasteful spending. At a recent meeting the following example was given: "$30,000 was paid to a consultant to develop a college logo and then the project was terminated." That's wasteful. I doubt this example pertained to SCC, but I always thought the SCC re-branding was a waste of money.

[13 October 2007 (heading for a day in San Diego; 70° at 5:11am) top]


Week Ending 06 October 2007

Computing::Jonathan Schwartz Added To the GDT::DreamTeam
Jonathan Schwartz is the CEO of Sun Microsystems. Schwartz is also a blogger and it appears as though he is turning things around at Sun. Although changing a company's stock symbol doesn't mean anything, Sun Microsystems has switched its stock symbol from SUNW to JAVA while Schwartz has been CEO. Java is a popular programming language. Stock symbols are typically attached with company names; therefore, Sun Microsystems (JAVA) is a constant reminder that Sun Microsystems created the Java object-oriented programming language.

BusinessWeek.com:: The 'Warrior' Within Jonathan Schwartz

[Extra] Carl Ichan has been buying lots of BEA Systems Inc.'s( BEAS) stock. According to Maps.Yahoo.com, Sun Microsystems is 2.6 miles from BEA Systems. BEA Systems was "founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Jose, California," and Sun Microsystems was "founded in 1982 and is based in Santa Clara, California."

[Extra] Jonathan Schwartz was the Fall 2007 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Internet::Sputnik's 50th Anniversary
Sputnik 1 was the "first artificial satellite to be put into geocentric orbit. Launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, it was the first satellite of the Sputnik program." Sputnik's launch helped launch ARPA from which came today's Internet. Many of today's technology leaders believe the U.S.A. needs another "Sputnik moment."

MCCCD::Faculty Executive Council vs. Blue Ribbon Panel
The following blurbs were copied from notes taken at the September (2007) meeting of the Faculty Executive Council.

   
   "Concerns were raised that faculty are shutting down and 
    dropping innovative and creative teaching for fear of losing 
    their jobs and this is hurting students "

Many faculty are holding on because they have outstanding retirement packages awaiting them.

    "Other concerns were that the culture of Maricopa was 
     changing for the worse."

And it is going to get worse before it gets better.

    "Faculty applicant pools have changed from holding many 
     qualified applicants to a few or no qualified applicants, 
     and that student enrollment was decreasing."

The declining enrollments have been an issue for a couple of years and it is amazing that it is only now that faculty members are "seeing" this reality.

Maricopa.edu:: Blue Ribbon Panel Information Update

[06 October 2007 (Fall 2007 is half over; 64° at 7:32am) top]


Week Ending 29 September 2007

GDT::More Quotes Added To GDT::Quotes
As of this posting the GDT::Quote collection contained 550 quotes. The following quotes were added this week.

Often wrong, never in doubt.
-- Marc Andreessen (01971-?????) {programmer/entrepreneur; Mosaic/Opsware/Ning; more...} [confidence]

You have to eat well, be well housed, have a screw from time
to time, smoke your pipe and drink your coffee in peace.

-- Vicent van Gogh (01853-01890) { Dutch artist; more... } [life]

[...] future events such as these will affect you in the future.
-- Jeron Criswell King (01907-01982) {American psychic; from Plan 9 from Outer Space; more...} [future]

TempeHiker::Pictures From Tempe, AZ

[28 September 2007 (heading for the Shady Dell; 75° at 5:20am) top]


Week Ending 22 September 2007

EDU::Quoting Knuth
The last two quotes added to the GDT::Quote collection have come from GDT::DreamTeam member Donald Knuth.

It has often been said that a person does not really understand
something until he teaches it to someone else. Actually a person
does not really understand something until he can teach it to a
computer, i. e., express it as an algorithm. The attempt to formalize
things as algorithms leads to a much deeper understanding than if we
simply try to comprehend things in the traditional way.

-- Donald Knuth (01938-) {computer scientist at Stanford University; more...} [education]

Donald Knuth was featured in the May/June 2006 issue of Stanford Magazine. According to UC-Berkeley professor Christos Papadimitriou (and former Knuth colleague at Stanford), Knuth was "basically the first great mathematician to take computer science seriously. He did it by introducing rigor and elegance into programming."

Knuth seven-volume series called "The Art of Computer Programming" has been his life's work.

If I had been good at making estimates of how long something
was going to take, I never would have started.

-- Donald Knuth (01938-?????) { The Art of Computer Programming; more... } [time]

Donald Knuth got into Computer Science before there was Computer Science.

StanfordAlumni.org:: Love at First Byte

RoadHacker is envious of Knuth's Diamond Signs collection.

[22 September 2007 (looks like rain today; 82° at 6:26am) top]


Week Ending 15 September 2007

Foo::Mid-September 2007 Lament Using Rock n' Roll Lyrics
In the song "Watching the Wheels" John Lennon sings, "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round." Lennon relaxingly exclaimed that he "really loved to watch them roll" and I'm sure he did. By jumping off the merry-go-round, Lennon acquired the time needed to watch the wheels go round and round. Lennon was fortunate because acquiring time is a key freedom that financial wealth can bring to a person. Sadly for Lennon, no amount of money can protect one from defective human-beings (or ill health or freak accidents).

I'm a lucky man because I never feel like "I've been tied to a whipping-post." There many times I feel as if "I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round." Sadly for me, however, those feelings are "just my imagination running away with me." Bottom-line: "I'm a working man--that's what I am." In my fifty years of life I have learned that most working men will never have the freedom to exit the merry-go-round. Most working men will never be able to proclaim "I just had to let it go."

[15 September 2007 (these are the dog days of summer; 87° at 6:42am) top]


Week Ending 08 September 2007

Math::Students Say the Fooest Things
The MathBabbler (i.e. gdt) had the following exchange with a former student.

   student:  I signed up to re-take your class, but 
             they swapped instructors.

       gdt:  That must mean you have Foo Doe (fake name used).

   student:  Yeah, that's right.

       gdt:  That's good.  You'll do well with Foo Doe because
             she is a real math teacher.

   student:  [with a grin] Yeah, like I'm a real math student.

Biotech::Can We Stay Forever Young?
In late-2004, Aubrey de Grey was quoted saying: "I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already."

BBC.co.uk:: 'We will be able to live to 1,000' [3 Dec 2004]

In a rebuttal opinion, S Jay Olshansky was quoted saying: "What do the ancient purveyors of physical immortality all have in common? They are all dead."

BBC.co.uk:: 'Don't fall for the cult of immortality' [3 Dec 2004]

To S Jay Olshansky I'd respond with: Yes, all the acient purveyors of physical immortality are dead, but they didn't have HPC (High Performance/Productivity Computing) along with high performance visualization systems to help them extend lives.

Nano::Artie Artichoke Learning About Nanotechnology
Huge Thank You to KathleenM for creating an Artie Artichoke picture for the nanonewbies at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona.

[08 September 2007 (week 3 done, begin week 4; 82° at 6:20am) top]


Week Ending 01 September 2007

Computing::C is About Freedom
Narain Gehani is Chairman of the Computer Science Department at NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has authored numerous computer books including a couple on the C programming language.

   "C is a flexible programming language that gives a great deal of
    freedom to the programmer.  This freedom is the source of much
    of its expressive power... However, undisciplined use of this
    freedom can lead to errors."

Gehani also wrote the following: "Unethical hackers have used the lack of array bounds checking in C to compromise some widely used C program by forcing 'buffer overflow' to get unauthorized access into networks and websites."

"Unethical hackers" are called crackers and crackers are huge fans of buffer overflows.

Books.Google.com:: C: ANSI C Edition by Narain Gehani.

Computing::ASU Hires Biomedical Informatics Guru
Dr. Robert Greenes is leaving Harvard University to become the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Greenes' department is in ASU's School of Computing and Informatics, which is part of ASU's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

An ASU press release indicated that Greenes came to ASU because of the "substantial planning efforts and resources being devoted to building ASU's biomedical informatics program."

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, president and scientific director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, says he considers Greenes "without question among the world leaders in the use of collaborative medical informatics research to benefit patients, physicians and students."

Dr. Greenes, who has a M.D. degree and a Ph. D. in applied mathematics and computer science, was quoted saying:

   "I'm impressed by the eagerness at all levels of the university, 
    especially its leadership, and among its partners, the University 
    of Arizona, and other Arizona health and biomedical science 
    institutions, to create a top-notch biomedical informatics
    program."

The Biotech Trekker posted the following comment to EastValleyTribune.com.

   Kudos to ASU for convincing Dr. Greenes to come to Arizona.  
   This is great news for not only for the Valley of the Sun, 
   but for the entire state of Arizona.

SCI.ASU.edu:: New department head will boost ASU's leadership in biomedical informatics

EDU::EastValleyTribune Has an Absurd Opinion
East Valley Tribune editorial headline: "Crow should say 'no' to $10,000 bonus for ASU's ranking." What a bunch of bull-foo.

The EVT editorial went on to say:

   "Crow should not accept a $10,000 bonus his contract calls 
    for him to receive from the Arizona Board of Regents if ASU 
    cracked the second tier (it is now ranked 124th in the nation). 
    Instead he should donate it to ASU's general scholarship fund. 
    Given his well-into-six-figures salary plus other bonuses, 
    he hardly needs it."

The EastValleyTribune's opinion is amazing-squared and it prompted me to post the following comment.

   The EVT wrote: "Crow should not accept a $10,000 bonus [...]. 
   Instead he should donate it to ASU's general scholarship fund."

   Crow is grossly underpaid.

   It always annoys me when others tell me what I should do with 
   my money. Crow has a contract and he is going to get a $10,000 
   bonus. What he does with his money is his business.

   The Crow-ation of ASU continues and let's hope he stays in 
   Arizona for many years to come. 

[01 September 2007 (31 days @ 110° or above; 93° at 5:55am) top]


Week Ending 25 August 2007

Computing::Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA)
Sun Microsystems announced they are changing their stock symbol from SUNW to JAVA. Sun's CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, posted the following to his blog.

   "Because Java touches nearly everyone - everyone - who touches 
    the internet. Hundreds of millions of users see Java, and its 
    ubiquitous logo, every day. On PC's, mobile phones, game consoles 
    - you name it, wherever the network travels, the odds are good 
    Java's powering a portion of the experience."

   ...and...

   "What's that distribution and awareness worth to us? It's hard 
    to say - brands, like employees, aren't expenses, they're 
    investments. Measuring their value is more art than science. 
    But there's no doubt in my mind more people know Java than 
    Sun Microsystems. There's similarly no doubt they know Java 
    more than nearly any other brand on the internet."

Blogs.Sun.com::Jonathan:: The Rise of JAVA - The Retirement of SUNW

Computing::VMware Has a Successful IPO
It appears as if virtualization is morphing into a growth industry. Despite poor market conditions, VMware had a successful IPO (Initial Public Offering). They sold 33 million shares (or about 10% of the company) to the public. VMware is majorily owned by EMC.

VMware, founded in 1998, has software that creates "multiple 'virtual' servers within a physical server. This saves customers money because they can pack more software onto servers."

Shortly after VMware went public, Citrix Systems announced it was paying $500 million for a small VMware rival called XenSource, which "sells 'virtualization' software products that help make servers more efficient."

Finance.Yahoo.com:: VMW

Nanotech::Nanonewbies Yahoo!Group Created
On 20 August 2007, I created a Yahoo!Group to help manage a "Nanotech for Nanonewbies" group that is forming at Scottsdale Community College. After creating the "group," Yahoo! displayed the following three nanotechnology related questions mined from Yahoo! Answers.

   Will any one give me some of the applications of nanotechnology?
   Will any one guide me to get free articles and paper from the web?
   How close are we to practical nanotechnology?

These three questions could be topics for upcoming group discussions.

Tech.Groups.Yahoo.com:: Nanotech for Nanonewbies

[25 August 2007 (it's a stormy morning; 84° at 5:42am) top]


The Fall 2007 MOTD has Been Started

The MOTD (Message Of The Day) was started during the Fall 1997 semester. This posting begins the 31st edition of the MOTD. There are three MOTDs per year (spring, summer and fall). The Summer 2007 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

In a nutshell, the MOTD is a blog (weblog) that is updated on a weekly basis. When the MOTD was created, the term "blog" was not commonly used. The MOTD was named after the /etc/motd file used on Unix systems.

Most MOTD postings are computer related; however, there are also postings about RoadHacker and TempeHiker outings and other non-computer related stuff. The MOTD is the parent to other GDT::Blogs such as the Internet Observer, Unix and Linux Logger, Security Watchdog, Computing Bits, Stocks Stuffer, Biotech Trekker, Nanotech Smallblog, FLOSS E-Rambler, Grid Utilitarian and the Math Babbler.

GDT:: Blogs (weblogs)

[18 August 2007 (31st edition of the MOTD has started; 89° at 6:45am) top]


Creator: Gerald Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:46 MST

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