MOTD::Archive::Fall 2008 (27 December 2008)

Summer 2008 MOTD

Week Ending 27 December 2008

RoadHacker::Tehachapi Loop Viewpoint Roadtrip
Quartzsite bakery, CA Hwy-62 (Colorado desert, Tamarisk shoetree, Rice, mileage pole); Twentynine Palms; Barstow; Boron; Mojave; Tehachapi; California City (Desert Tortoise Natural Area--although no tortoises will probably be seen); Route 66 (Bagdad Cafe); Amboy Crater (hike); Mojave National Preserve (hike Kelso Dunes in the Devils Playground; visit the Kelso Depot--which was being renovated that last time I was there); Goffs Schoolhouse, Needles; and Bouse.

RoadHacker::Tehachapi Loop Viewpoint

MOTD::Last Fall 2008 Posting
The 34th edition of the MOTD ends today (Saturday, 27 December 2008) and the 35th edition will start on Thursday, 1 January 02009. The 35th edition of the MOTD will switch to using 5-digit years, but other than that no other MOTD changes are currently planned.

The MOTD (Message Of The Day) was started during the fall of 1997 and I have updated it on a weekly basis for almost eleven years.

The MOTD is a blog (web log); however, when I created it, blog was not the popular term that it is today. I used MOTD because of my Unix experience. When you log onto a Unix system, you are greeted with the message-of-the-day which is stored in the file /etc/motd. Typically, only a super-user can edit the /etc/motd file.

GDT::MOTD Archive

[27 December 2008 (sunshine has returned; 43° at 10:24am) top]

Week Ending 20 December 2008

Computing::An Interview With Bjarne Stroustrup
Thank You to KevinM for passing along a hyperlink to a recent interview with Bjarne Stroustrup--the father of C++. Since 2002, Stroustrup has been the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science at Texas A&M University.

   "The old Bell Labs (AT&T Bell Labs) was indeed remarkably close to 
    the ideal for practical research aimed at changing the world for 
    the better and I'm often 'homesick' for it. Unfortunately, it no 
    longer exists."

Another Stroustrup quote...

   "A friend of mine looked at the final projects of a class of 
    third-year CS students from a famous university. Essentially 
    all had their code littered with 'magic constants.'" 

And I liked Stroustrup's reply when asked "what is it that makes a great developer?"

   "Curiosity, initiative, tenacity, ability to reason logically, 
    ability to communicate and to work with others. That's not at 
    all special for programmers, I'm afraid. Also, I strongly prefer 
    to be around people with a sense of humor." Stroustrup on Educating Software Developers

GDT::Another Semester Ends
The fall 2008 semester has come to an end and winter break is now in progress. I have a 3-day roadtrip to the Tehachapi Loop Viewpoint planned along with a 3-night visit to my parents in Joliet, Illinois.

RoadHacker::Roadtrip to the Tehachapi Loop Viewpoint

[20 December 2008 (end of the year is my least favorite time of year; 55° at 12:22pm) top]

Week Ending 13 December 2008

Math::Modifications to the MBNA
MathBabbler is doing more and more nBABs (number BABs) thanks to his MBNA (MathBabbler Number Analyst [software]). The PrimeFactors of the MBNA prints the prime factors of composite numbers and he modified the code to print if a number is semi-prime (also called bi-prime or 2-almost prime). Semi-prime numbers are have two (not necessarily unique) prime factors.

   $ PrimeFactors 33
   33 has the prime factors: 3*11
   33 is semiprime (biprime or 2-almost prime)

   $ PrimeFactors 88
   88 has the prime factors: 2*2*2*11

   $ PrimeFactors 1679
   1679 has the prime factors: 23*73
   1679 is semiprime (biprime or 2-almost prime)

   $ PrimeFactors 4
   4 has the prime factors: 2*2
   4 is semiprime (biprime or 2-almost prime)

GDT::Math::MBNA::PrimeNumbers C++ source code

While working on a nBAB about the number 88, MathBabbler learned that 88 was a refactorable number. A refactorable number is a number that is evenly divisable by a count of its divisors (including the divisors 1 and the number itself).
   $ DeficientPerfectAbundant 88
   88 proper divisors are: 1,2,4,8,11,22,44,
   88 is refactorable (evenly divisable by # of divisors)
   88 is abundant (sum of divisors is 92)

   $ DeficientPerfectAbundant 32
   32 proper divisors are: 1,2,4,8,16,
   32 is deficient (sum of divisors is 31)

   $ DeficientPerfectAbundant 16
   16 proper divisors are: 1,2,4,8,
   16 is deficient (sum of divisors is 15)

   $ DeficientPerfectAbundant 36
   36 proper divisors are: 1,2,3,4,6,9,12,18,
   36 is refactorable (evenly divisable by # of divisors)
   36 is abundant (sum of divisors is 55)

GDT::Math::MBNA::DeficientPerfectAbundant C++ source code

GDT::Quote Collection Increases to 674 Quotes
Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible
for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. By
old buildings I mean...plain, ordinary, low-value old buildings,
including some rundown old buildings.... Old ideas sometimes use
old buildings. New ideas must use old buildings

-- Jane Jacobs (01916-02006) {Canadian urbanist; more...} [cities]

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics,
I assure you that mine are greater.

-- Albert Einstein (01879-01955) {German-born theoretical physicist; more...} [math]

There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day
is the one day that is purely American.

-- O. Henry (01862-01910) {American writer William Potter; more...} [Thanksgiving]

RoadHacker::Salt River Canyon
We drove through Salt River Canyon during September of this year and I finally got around to posting the pictures (8 of them) to the web. {RoadHacker::Arizona::Salt River Canyon}

[14 December 2008 (rainy days in the forecase; 54° at 8:530am) top]

Week Ending 06 December 2008

Computing::2020 FLOSS Roadmap
It's a 78-page dot-pdf and I haven't read it, but I probably will during the next couple of months. I'm glad to see they used FLOSS when referencing Free/Libre and Open Source Software.

I agree with ComputerWorld's reporting...

   "Reaching this computing nirvana, however, will require action 
    -- and not just by bearded geeks. Investors, legislators, 
    educators, voters and even consumers also have a role to 
    play, according to the report's authors."

Speaking of beards... I'm confident there are a lot of geeks around the world who are beardless; in fact, I suspect most female geeks don't have beards. developers set out software road map for 2020

Nanotech::Nanonewbies Presentation at SCC
Two other SCC instructors and myself put on a three part nanotechnology presentation on 4 December 2008. I started things off and I posted my notes to We are hoping to do a lot more nano related stuff during the Spring 2009 semester.

Computing::Internet2 Continues To Evolve
The headline "Internet2: Full Speed Ahead" caught my attention and full speed ahead is right. The following was copied from

   "Internet2's high-speed network is expected to be a key 
    component in the testing of predictions of high-energy 
    physics when CERN's Large Hadron Collider becomes fully 
    operational in 2009. The collider is expected to generate 
    approximately 15 million gigabytes of data per year, and 
    more than 70 Internet2 university members and 3,000 American 
    researchers will participate in the research, with each 
    expected to download or transmit some 2 terabytes of data 
    during a four-hour window every couple of weeks." Full Speed Ahead

[06 December 2008 (I'm thinking roadtrip; 64° at 11:30am) top]

Week Ending 29 November 2008

Computing::Logging Google Calculator Moments
On 25 November 2008, I started logging some of my more interesting Google calculator moments. {BAB::Google Calculator Moments}

Math::BAB Milestones
The 100th AlgeBAB (Basic Algebra Bit) was posted on 25 November 2008 (it was BAB #1928). The BAB production for fall semester 2008, which is at 192 with a couple weeks still to go, has exceeded last fall's BAB production of 189. There are now 79 nBABs (number BABs) and I suspect this collection will hit 100 postings before the end of this year. There are numerous BAB mottos, but I like this one the best: A BAB a day keeps the math tutor away.

AzFoo::Dangerous Ideas
ThurmSpeaks::I Find Dangerous Ideas Interesting was posted to my AzFoo at blog prior updating this week's MOTD.

[29 November 2008 (2008 nearing one month to go; 50° at 8:16am) top]

Week Ending 22 November 2008

Internet::InterPlanetary Network is Working
Vinton Cerf has played a key role in the development of the Interplanetary Internet.

   "NASA is celebrating a successful test of a deep-space network 
    modeled after the Internet. Engineers from NASA's JPL have 
    transmitted images to and from a NASA spacecraft using 
    disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) software. NASA says 
    DTN and 'interplanetary Internet' technology will be used 
    in future space missions."

Yes Toto... we are living in the 21st century. Kudos to NASA! Successfully Tests 'Interplanetary Internet'

Technology::DARPA Budget Needs Increasing reported that the the U.S. Department of Defense took an "estimated 1,500 computers offline Wednesday after a security breach within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)."

"I don't do e-mail," said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. "I'm a very low-tech person."

Our next Secretary of Defense must be a very high-tech person because cyber-warfare, bio-warfare, nano-warfare and robo-warfare could be stark reminders that the United States of America has been asleep at the wheel.

"September 11 was essentially a collision of early 20th-century technology: the airplane and the skyscraper. We don't want to see a collision of 21st-century technology," said Bill Joy in 02006.

The United States needs to say 02008 is the 01958 of the 21st century; therefore, DARPA's current annual budget of approximately $3.2 billion needs to be increased at least ten-fold.

Computing::IBM Into Cognitive Computing
Cognitive computing is using computing to simulate and emulate the human brain.

   "Computer systems that mimic the brain to process large amounts 
    of data could emerge from a $4.9 million collaboration between 
    IBM, five universities and DARPA. The SyNAPSE project could tap 
    the value of real-time information growing at 60 percent a year. 
    Being able to analyze the data could make real-time decisions 

SyNAPSE stands for Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics.

And the five universities are: Stanford, Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell, Columbia University Medical Center, and California-Merced., Partners Aim To Build Brain-Like Computer Systems

[22 November 2008 (Thanksgiving week is upon us; 52° at 7:22am) top]

Week Ending 15 November 2008

Computing::About Sun Microsystems
On 14 November 02008, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced it plans to "cut up to 6,000 jobs, or 18 percent of its global work force."

Sun Microsystems has been a great American computer company since 01982. When I think about Sun Microsystems, I think about the Stanford University Network and how the "network is the computer." I think about the company's outstanding support for the Unix operating system. It is impossible to forget that during the mid-1990s, Sun created the Java "write once, run anywhere" platform and applets helped spawn the growth of the world wide web (interactive web pages... woohoo). Now in the early part of the 21st century, Sun Microsystems has become a key participant in the evolution of open source with computing tools such as OpenOffice, MySQL, OpenSolaris, and (most recently) Java.

So many great computer professionals have worked at Sun Microsystems over the span of the last quarter of a century. I've heard some people advocating Bill Joy for CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the United States. It would be great if Obama picked Joy for that position, but I have no idea if Joy is interested. of Sun Microsystems employees (past and present)

My blogroll is short, but it does include Jonathan's Blog.

GDT::Quote Collection Increases to 671 Quotes

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party.
-- Dennis Ritchie (01941-02011) {net.unix-wizards posting 12 March 01984; more...} [life]

A man is rich in proportion to the number
of things which he can afford to let alone.

-- Henry David Thoreau (01817-01862) {American author; more...} [life]

It is known that there are an infinte number of worlds,
simply because there is an infinite amount of space for
them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited.
Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as
makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets
in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows
that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and
that any people you may meet from time to time are merely
products of a deranged imagination.

-- Douglas Adams (01952-02001) {"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"; more...} [imagination]

I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by
the number of times I succeed: and the number of times
I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times
I fail and keep trying.

-- Tom Hopkins (?????-?????) {don't know who this guy is} [success]

The intelligence of the creature known as a crowd,
is the square root of the number of people in it.

-- Terry Pratchett (01948-) {English sci-fi writer; more...} [intelligence]

Civilization is a race between disaster and education.
-- H.G. Wells (01866-01946) {English writer; more...} [civilization]

We could use up two Eternities in learning all that is to be
learned about our own world and the thousands of nations that
have arisen and flourished and vanished from it. Mathematics
alone would occupy me eight million years.

-- Mark Twain (01835-01910) {American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer; more...} [learning]

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to
which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is
used in theology politics, not in arithmetic.

-- Bertrand Russell (01872-01970) {British philosopher/mathematician; more...} [life]

Although he may not always recognize his bondage,
modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers.

-- Nicholas Eberstadt (?????-) {political scientist/economist; more...} [numbers]

The best argument against democracy is a five
minute conversation with the average voter.

-- Winston Churchill (01874-01965) {British politician; more...} [democracy]

[15 November 2008 (we need 02009 to get here; 66° at 6:24am) top]

Week Ending 08 November 2008

Computing::Vinton Cerf for CTO of the U.S.?
I heard a rumor that Vinton Cerf is being considered for Chief Technology Office of the United States. This would be excellent news if it becomes a reality.

Computing::Odd Couple?
We went to see Kathy Griffin last night (7 November 2008). During the show Griffin mentioned Steve Wozniak a couple of times. The following was copied from the Wikipedia.

   "When asked if she actually targeted Wozniak to make her 
    ex-husband jealous, Griffin stated 'What better way to 
    get back at my ex, who was a tech, than to marry the 
    biggest techno-nerd in the Universe?'" 

The Wikipedia stated that Griffin and the Woz are still friends, but they're not a couple.

Computing::Steve Wozniak Added to the GDT::DreamTeam
Typically only one member is added to the GDT::DreamTeam per semester. The fall 2008 semester addition to the DreamTeam was Larry Page, but after seeing Kathy Griffin I decided to add Steve Wozniak team. Griffin wasn't too far off base when she said that the Woz was the "biggest techno-nerd in the Universe."

[the Woz and I]

Steve Wozniak is (was) a Fall 2008 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Jobs in 1976. The Woz created the Apple I and Apple II computers during the mid-1970s.

In 1985, Wozniak received the National Medal of Technology from Ronald Reagan. He is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is a Fellow at the Computer History Museum.

Wozniak was born on 11 August 1950 in San Jose, California.


[08 November 2008 (Obama will be our 44th President; 59° at 9:20am) top]

Week Ending 01 November 2008

Computing::TGen's Saguaro 2 at ASU is a Supercomputer
I posted the following to my AzFoo at blog.

I've posted a lot about high-performance computing and a couple of the postings have been about ASU's High-Performance Computing Initiative (HPCI).

I wanted to extend a Thank You to the Republic's Ken Alltucker for his 29 October 02008 posting about the Saguaro 2 supercomputer that is being shared by TGen and ASU. Saguaro 2 can do 50 trillion calculations per second.

I remain convinced that high-performance computing is going to enable the scientists and researchers at TGen and the Biodesign Institute at ASU to make some significant discoveries. Release from TGen

GDT::Quote and BARS of the Week for Week #11
On 4 November 2008, the United States will be electing its next president. I found and used an Aristotle quote for the upcoming QOTW. In addition, I updated three BARS of the Week by adding a total of 22 new equations. The equations, in turn, were made into MAT082 assessments.

Quote of the Week { Mathematical Quotations Server}
If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly
to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when
all persons alike share in government to the utmost.

-- Aristotle (00384bc-00332bc) {Greek philosopher; more...} [government] [log]
BARS of the Week { Astronomy Picture of the Day}
Ft. Apache AZ | Hwy-73 Pi AZ | Hwy-260 McNary AZ [log]

GDT::Wow... It's November Already
In two months 2008 will be over. That means in two more years we'll be done with the 1st decade of the 21st century. I guess it's because we should expect the unexpected, but to date I've found the 21st century to be major disappointment.

[01 November 2008 (election day is approaching; 74° at 9:30am) top]

Week Ending 25 October 2008 Making Progress
Kudos to!

21 October 02008: announced "grants of more than $14 million to support partners working in Southeast Asia and Africa to prevent the next pandemic." Battles Bugs & Viruses

AzFoo::Illuminia Announces a Stock Buyback
Illuminia announced a share buyback program because the company believes its market value is ignoring the company's future. I agree with their assessment.

Illuminia's buyback is $120 million (which is tiny compared to other buybacks I have seen), but that's $120 million that will not be invested in research and development, capital expenditures, new job creation, and so on.

I suspect San Diego, CA-based Illuminia wishes it didn't have to say enough is enough and buyback some of its stock, but a good buy is a good buy. Short-term "kudos" to Illuminia.

Quotes::The Collection Now has 660 Quotes

A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy,
and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is
now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors.

-- Warren Buffett (01930-) {American investor, businessman, philanthropist; more... } [investing]

Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people
who have the habit of making excuses.

-- George Washington Carver (01864-01943) {American botanist; more...} [excuses]

There's nothing wrong with failing fast.
-- Brian Singerman (?????-) {an angel investor and a VC at Founders Fund; more...} [entrepreneurs]

Life is already too short to waste on speed.
-- Edward Abbey (01927-01989) {author and defender of wilderness; } [nature]

Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens
the conscience like individual responsibilty.

-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton (01815-01902) {American feminist; Declaration of Sentiments; more...} [responsibility]

Two men can keep a secret if one of them is dead.
-- Mark Twain (01835-01910) {American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer; more...} [life]

[25 October 2008 (had fun at the state fair yesterday; 74° at 11:00am) top]

Week Ending 18 October 2008

AzFoo::At Posting
Google is a long term, futuristic thinking, 21st century Informatics company.

Google reported 3rd-quarter 02008 results after the stock market closed on Thursday, 16 October 02008.

Google's free cash flow for the 3rd-quarter was $1.73 billion.

Google's "cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities" at the end of the 3rd-quarter was $14.4 billion.

   "While we are realistic about the poor state of the global 
    economy, we will continue to manage Google for the long term, 
    driving improvements to search and ads, while also investing 
    in future growth areas such as enterprise, mobile, and display." 
    --Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

Note: Google's definition of "long term" is in units of years and not 3-month chunks.

AzFoo::At Posting
Surprise, surprise... Warren Buffett is buying stocks.

   "A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are 
    greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, 
    fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors."
    --Warren Buffett, investor, businessman, philanthropist 

Kudos to Obama for having Buffett as a friend. That connection connects Obama to Bill and Melinda Gates, which could bode well for this country (and the world) while Melinda, Bill and Warren expand their philanthropic activities.

Speaking of philanthropy... I am excited about what we will see from over the next few decades.

Math::New Prime Numbered Highway Sign
I was watching the movie "In the Bedroom." The movie takes place in Maine and, without leaving the couch, I was able to get my 75th picture of a prime numbered highway sign.

[18 October 2008 (my job gets tougher by the day; 69° at 6:31am) top]

Week Ending 11 October 2008

Math::500th BARS Posted
Today, 11 October 2008, the 500th BARS (Basic Arithmetic Road Sign) was posted. I started doing BARS 881 days ago on 15 May 2006.

BARS::Basic Arithmetic Road Signs

Computing::Crackers are Criminals
I saw AP reported that David Kernell has been charged with "intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization."

If Kernell is found guilty, then he is a cracker and crackers are criminals; therefore, he should receive the maximum sentence of "five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release."

Ken Thompson was correct when he wrote: "The act of breaking into a computer system has to have the same social stigma as breaking into a neighbor's house."

GDT::MySpace, Facebook, PluggedIn, Twitter, AzCentral, Blogspot
Too many websites. Users on MySpace can update their "Status and Mood." On 8 October 2008, I added my 2nd MySpace friend. The last time I had accessed my MySpace account was on 14 July 2008. At that time I set my mood to "relaxed." When I accessed my account on October 8th, I was still "relaxed" yet I changed it to "mellow." I also set my "Status" to "is studying" because that is basically what I do all the time.

[11 October 2008 (very cool day; 69° at 11:16am) top]

Week Ending 04 October 2008

Computing::Under My Cloud
ASU is really excited about getting into "cloud computing."

   "To practice cloud computing, you have to have a cloud," 
    notes Adrian Sannier, ASU's university technology officer. 
   "That's the obstacle most universities have. A cloud is 
    a big thing, and it's very expensive."

A "cloud" is basically a cluster of computers working together as a single computer accessed via a growing cyber-infrastructure.

   "We'll start with an overview of important computing models.
    Then, we'll learn programming in Google style." -- Dan
    Stanzione, director of the high-performance computing 
    center at ASU's Fulton School of Engineering and a member 
    of the faculty team that will teach the cloud-computing course. 

Stanzione is a computing guru and ASU is lucky to have him as a technical leader.

   "ASU is the largest user of Google Apps, says Kari Barlow, 
    assistant vice president of the university's technology 
    office." -- Knowledge@W.P. Carey

"Cloud computing" makes it seem as if we're entering into an era of utopian computing... but are we?

The Guardian did an interview with Richard Stallman (RMS) and they quoted RMS saying it was "worse than stupidity" when it comes to using web-based programs like Google's Gmail.

RMS is a guru programmer who created the GNU Project and he is the founder of the Free Software Foundation.

   "It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing 
    hype campaign.  Somebody is saying this is inevitable -- and 
    whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to 
    be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true." -- RMS

Stallman is one of the most trustworthy computer professionals in the world; therefore, I usually listen when he speaks.

   "One reason you should not use web applications to do your 
    computing is that you lose control. It's just as bad as 
    using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your 
    own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. 
    If you use a proprietary program or somebody else's web 
    server, you're defenceless. You're putty in the hands of 
    whoever developed that software." -- RMS

Are ASU students becoming "putty" in the hands of Google?

[04 October 2008 (semester is nearing mid-term; 70° at 7:21am) top]

Week Ending 27 September 2008

Computing::Larry Page Added To The GDT::DreamTeam
Larry Page is the Fall 2008 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998. Page's title is President of Products at Google.

Page was born on 26 March 1973 in Lansing, Michigan.

Computing::Google Turns 10, Initiates Project 10^100
To help celebrate its tenth birthday, Google has initiated Project 10^100.

10^100 is calculator notation for 10 raised to the 100th power, which is 1 followed by 100 zeros. The number 10^100 is called a googol (note a google, but a googol).

The idea behind Google's Project 10^100 is the notion that "helping helps everybody, helper and helped alike." Google believes that individual happiness increases when we help others.

On 25 September 2008, the Google homepage contained the following hyperlink.

Project 10^100: Tell Google how you want to change the world. Blog
On 26 September 2008, I made my 171st posting to my AzFoo at blog. This blog is basically an alternative to ThurmSpeaks.

[26 September 2008 (our political leaders suck; 77° at 6:27am) top]

Week Ending 20 September 2008

Computing::September 20th is Software Freedom Day
Today, September 20th, is Software Freedom Day.

Google didn't morph their logo to to acknowledge the day.

I'm giving a presentation at the 1st Annual ABLEconf event on how FLOSS can be used to learn about programming while at the same time increase overall computer literacy. I'm not convinced anybody will show up, so it will be interesting to see if I'm right or wrong (I hope I'm wrong).

The vision of SFD is "to empower all people to freely connect, create and share in a digital world that is participatory, transparent, and sustainable."

Computing::Google Says Bye-Bye to Arizona
I posted the following to my blog.

Google's leaving Tempe and that is sad news for Arizona. If you're a computing student in Arizona who wants to be a Googler, then be prepared to move to Silicon Valley, LA, Pittsburgh, Austin, Ann Arbor, etc.

I was excited during October of 02005 when Google announced they were going to establish operations in the Valley of the Sun. This was great news because Google only opens engineering operations in places where they believe they have an endless supply of computational thinkers. Google is a 21st century Informatics company and ASU (and UA and NAU) must be failing at producing talented 21st century informaticians.

I was surprised Google came to Arizona given our 20th century political leadership. Google coming to Arizona was a gift to Arizona's politicians--too bad they weren't able to use that gift to turn Arizona into a respected software state. What a wasted opportunity.

Google leaving Arizona prompted lots of postings to AzTalk. One poster wrote: "This is not surprising. Google is 10 years old and has had its good days. From now on it's all down hill." Bottom-line: Google is 10 years young and Arizona is too ancient for them.

Google is exiting Arizona and that is good news for Google shareholders.

Computing::Sarah Palin's Yahoo! Email Account Cracked
Wired is correct to state: "The simplicity of the attack, of course, makes it no less illegal."

   "As detailed in the postings, the Palin hack didn't 
    require any real skill. Instead, the hacker simply 
    reset Palin's password using her birthdate, ZIP code 
    and information about where she met her spouse -- the 
    security question on her Yahoo account, which was 
    answered (Wasilla High) by a simple Google search."

Palin is now being critized for conducting work business using her Yahoo! email account. E-Mail Hacker Says It Was Easy

[Extra] I posted the following to the my blog.

Sarah Palin's Yahoo! email account was cracked (not hacked) by a cracker (not a hacker).

People who criticize Palin's computing practices should be careful because there is a good chance many of us are using our computers in non-secure ways. For example, I suspect over the span of the last decade lots of email has been sent over the Internet as plain-old-text when it should have been encrypted.

Most of the software that we use everyday is "just good enough software." This type of software is fine when using it on a personal computer that is not connected to the Internet; but, this code becomes "just bad enough software" when the personal computer is connected to the Internet (and a whole wide world of crackers/criminals).

Don Henley, back in 01989, wrote a song titled "Gimme What You Got" that contained the lyric: "A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun." Henley should modernize his lyric by adding the line "And a cracker with a high-speed Internet connection can steal more money than any man with a briefcase."

Although they will eventually become a computing relic, passwords still play a critical role in our computing world. During 01999, I created a webpage about passwords.

[20 September 2008 (thanks to housing the economy is a mess; 79° at 7:07am) top]

Week Ending 13 September 2008

Computing::Computer Literacy Goes Well Beyond Email
I posted the following to my AzFoo blog at

"Obama mocks McCain as computer illiterate" was an AP headline on 12 September 02008.

"He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail, [...goes off topic...]," said Obama about McCain.

In a nutshell: Being able to use email doesn't define computer literacy. My guess would be that Obama is only slightly less computer illiterate than McCain.

Donald Knuth--one the world's greatest living Computer Scientist--doesn't use email.

"I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime," wrote Donald Knuth.

Note: Knuth doesn't use a hyphen when he writes the word email.

"Thus it's high time for everybody to stop using the archaic spelling e-mail. Think of how many keystrokes you will save in your lifetime if you stop now! The form email has been well established in England for several years, so I am amazed to see Americans being overly conservative in this regard."--Donald Knuth.

By the way... Knuth has an amazing collection of diamond-shaped road signs.

In a nutshell: Most of today's political leaders are computer illiterates.

Computing::Blue Waters Coming in 2011
Kudos to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for partnering with IBM to "build the world's first sustained petascale computational system." The supercomputer will be named "Blue Waters" and it is scheduled to be online in 2011.

Blue Waters, which is supported by a $208 million NSF grant, will have "more than a petabyte of memory and more than 10 petabytes of disk storage." By the way, one petabyte is a million billion bytes (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).

   "Blue Waters will be an unrivaled national asset that will 
    have a powerful impact on both science and society," said 
    Thom Dunning NCSA director and a professor of chemistry at 
    Illinois in a release.  "Scientists around the country-simulating 
    new medicines or materials, the weather, disease outbreaks, or 
    complex engineered systems like power plants and aircraft-are 
    poised to make discoveries that we can only begin to imagine." $208 million petascale computer gets green light

[Extra] [side-bar] It was at the NCSA where Andreessen and Bina created the Mosaic web browser (circa 1993). Mosaic, which eventually became Netscape, played a key role in increasing the popularity of the World Wide Web. In 2003, NCSA created the PlayStation 2 Cluster to support scientific computing. Today, a PlayStation 3 Cluster is playing a key role in the Folding@home project.

GDT::Gerald.Thurman.Name Lives
The dot-name domain names have never caught on, but that didn't stop me from renewing the domain name on 2 September 2008. I registered the domain name for the first time on 4 September 2003 and I've had it ever since. I don't know how many Gerald Thurmans there are in the world, but only one can have the domain name and that's me.

[13 September 2008 (hurricane Ike attacked Texas this AM; 72° at 6:18am) top]

Week Ending 06 September 2008

Computing::Google Chrome; Open Source; Web Searches
Google practiced its motto of "launch early and iterate" when the company released a beta-version of the Chrome web browser. Currently, Chrome runs only on Windows, but that will change in future iterations of the browser.

Chrome is Open Source software, which is yet more confirmation that Free Software and Open Source are major tools in our 21st century computing world.

"We hope to collaborate with the entire community to help drive the web forward," said Google in a press release.

Kudos to Google!

"Super interactive browser that sits atop a super-fast connection--now interesting things will happen over the next 5-10 years," said Marc Andreessen. It has been 14 years since Andreessen created the Mosaic Netscape web browser.

Kudos to Andreessen for thinking near term (02013-0218). 02013 is in the early part of the second decade of the 21st century.

I enjoyed the following quote from Google co-founder Larry Page: "You only have 24 hours a day, and we would like you to do more searches. If the browser runs well, then you will do more searches."

According to, Google executed almost 62 percent of the 12 billion searches conducted during July 02008.

What's going to happen to the web search counter when the majority of college students get back to school and start pounding away on all those high-speed-Internet-connected school computers?

GDT::New Quotes
As of 6 September 02008, the GDT::Quotes collection contained 652 quotes. The following quotes were added during the first three weeks of the fall semester.

The depth with which we understand anything is in direct
proportion to the degree with which we have engaged in
intellectual labor to figure it out for ourselves.

-- Richard Paul (?????-) {authority on critical thinking; more...} [learning/intellectual labor]

As long as no one asks me, it seems to me that I know it;
but if someone asks me and I have to explain it,
it seems to me that I do not know it.

-- St. Augustine (00354-00430) {philosopher and theologian; more...} [knowledge]

When students do not engage in intellectual labor, they
do not meaningfully learn, their learning is falsified.

-- Richard Paul (?????-) {authority on critical thinking; more...} [learning/intellectual labor]

In the flat new world, educational opportunities are limitless,
even without help from school, government, churches or business.
Much of what you need to know about pretty much everything is out
there on the Web somewhere--especially if you're a technologist.

-- Doc Searls (01947-) {blogger and columnist; Open Source advocate; more...} [education]

CQ + PQ > IQ    (Curiosity, Passion, Intelligence Quotients)
-- Thomas Friedman (01953-) {American journalist; "The World is Flat"; more...} [future]

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent
than the one that went before it, and wiser than the
one that comes after it.

-- George Orwell (01903-01950) {English writer Eric Blair; more...} [generations]

We are what we believe we are.
-- C.S. Lewis (01898-01963) {Irish writer; more...} [life]

Thought precedes action as lightning does thunder.
-- Heinrich Heine (01797-01856) {German romantic poet; more...} [thinking]

[06 September 2008 (hurricane Ike might attack the U.S.; 79° at 6:54am) top]

Week Ending 30 August 2008

Computing::Digital Divide Alive and Well in Arizona
I posted the following Computing::Bit to my AzFoo blog at on 28 August 2008.

Kudos to the Arizona Republic for Sunday's article "Lagging Web access puts Arizona kids behind." Reading the article made it difficult to believe that we're nearing the end of the decade zero of the 21st century.

In a nutshell, Arizona is suffering from a problem that has been a problem world-wide ever since the proliferation of the personal computer -- the Digital Divide.

I'm stating the obvious, but at Scottsdale Community College I have seen with my own eyes that the digital divide can result in a learning divide. Students that have computers and high-speed Internet connections where they live have more learning resources readily available to them than those who don't.

I am five-nines confident that if every person had a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and an appropriate level of computer literacy, our rate of learning would be significantly higher.

Arizona's "digital divide" makes it the Grand Canyon state in more ways than one.

Math::Factorial Program Added to the MBNA
MathBabbler added a C++ factorial program (function) that he had laying around to the MBNA (MathBabbler Number Analyst).

The code was compiled with gcc on a machine where the size of the floating-point data type long double is 16-bytes. The maximum value that can be stored in a variable defined to be type long double is 1.18973e+4932.

MathBabbler played around and discovered that the largest number the factorial program can process is 1754.

   1000! is 4.02387e+2567
   1200! is 6.35079e+3175
   1400! is 3.46063e+3798
   1600! is 5.27198e+4433
   1700! is 2.99835e+4755
   1800! is inf
   [...rewind to 1700...]
   1754! is 1.97926e+4930
   1755! is inf


GDT::Arizona/Alaska Connections
I posted the following to my AzFoo blog at on 29 August 2008.

   How cool... connections between Arizona and Alaska 
   (states 48 and 49, respectively).

   On 1 July 02008, Dr. Jan Gehler became President of Arizona-based 
   Scottsdale Community College (SCC).  Prior to joining SCC, Gehler 
   was Dean of the Community and Technical College at the University 
   of Alaska at Anchorage.

   On 29 August 02008, Arizona Senator John McCain announced that 
   Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is going to be the next Vice President 
   of the United States.

[30 August 2008 (hurricane Gustav might attack the U.S.; 84° at 7:24am) top]

Week Ending 23 August 2008

MOTD::First Posting For Fall 2008
This is the first posting to the 34th edition of the MOTD (Message Of The Day). I've been doing the MOTD since the fall of 1997.

Computing::Peter Denning on Computational Thinking
Peter Denning did an excellent job describing "computational thinking" in an ACM "IT Profession Viewpoint." Denning's essay was sub-titled: "The choir of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists who make up the bulk of our field better represents computing than the solo voice of the programmer."

Denning's essay had to do with CS enrollments and that the "CS = programming" myth is alive and well.

In his essay, Denning speaks in six voices of computing professionals: the programmer, the user, the computational thinker, the mathematician, the engineer and the scientist. He also speaks in a seventh voice--the catalog. He calls the seventh voice the "last voice" because "it may be the last voice consulted by young people before deciding against computing as a major."

The six professional voices all start the same way... "I love programming"... "I love using computers"... "I love problem solving"... "I love mathematics"... "I love building things"... and "I love discovering new things about nature." The last voice, which is dull and boring, says nothing about "love."

Here are quotes from Peter Denning's description of computational thinking.

   "I love problem solving.  Not just any old problem solving,
    but problem solving using algorithms. [...] Sometimes I
    implement those solutions myself, and sometimes I let my
    friends the programmers do that. [...] I'm all about thought.
    One of my greatest successes is to get politicians to think
    that through their laws they are programmers of national
    social systems.  I've got economists thinking they can
    program the economy with right policies.  Perhaps my
    greatest triumph is to get people everywhere to think
    their brains are computers and that everything they
    do and say is simply an output."

Later in the same issue of the Communications of the ACM in which Denning's "IT Profession Viewpoint" was published, there was an "Education Viewpoint" titled and "Paving the Way for Computational Thinking." The sub-title of the "Education Viewpoint" was: "Drawing on methods from diverse disciplines--including computer science, education, sociology, and psychology--to improve computing education."

Math::Functionary is Not a Math Dictionary
The front-page of the Arizona Republic's Valley and State section on Friday, 22 August 2008, had a story headlined: "Flake says neo-Nazi tie hurts GOP."

The Republic's story contained the following phrase: "[...] to demand removal of a minor functionary on the lowest rung of the party's ladder."

Functionary? Sounds like a math dictionary containing definitions for function related terms. For example: What's the definition for "practical domain"? Hmmm... hold on while I look it up in my functionary.

However, functionary is not a math dictionary--it's a noun.

   functionary. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
   Retrieved August 22, 2008, from
   "1: one who serves in a certain function
    2: one holding office in a government or political party"

All of us are probably functionaries whether we like it or not. For example, MathBabbler is a computing functionary because computing is his profession. The "neo-Nazi" mentioned in the Arizona Republic's article is a political functionary.

TempeHiker::A Quick Visit to See Ed The Hotdogger
I went to downtown Phoenix to visit Ed The Hotdogger on 15 August 2008. While wandering Phoenix, I got pictures of the Madison Square Garden Memorial and some final pictures of Patriots Square. {TempeHiker::Downtown Phoenix and Ed The Hotdogger}

[23 August 2008 (classes start in two days; 83° at 7:35am) top]

Creator: Gerald Thurman []
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:47 MST

Thanks For Visiting