MOTD::Archive::Spring 1999 (13 May 1999)

Fall 1998 MOTD

The semester is over. I want to thank all of my students for the effort they have given this semester. This is the end of my second year of being a teacher (actually all I do is lecture) and I think I'll be forever trying to figure out how to do a good job. Good luck to all of you!

If you write any programs over the summer, please remember the following rules:

P.S. I don't care what anyone says, but this website has some great hyperlinks on it. [13 May 1999, top]

About the Fall Semester I'm excited about the upcoming Fall semester (the last pre-Y2K semester).

The CSC200 class will be vastly improved over the one I did this semester. I can and will make this a much more interesting class.

CSC185/CIS133DA will be fun (Internet basics), CSC285/CIS280 will be interesting (Internet programming), and CSC294/CIS280 will be neat (Unix with an Internet orientation).

These courses cover my favorite areas of computing: the Internet, Programming, Java, C, C++, and Unix.

It is a great time to be programmer (although I am not a programmer these days -- I'm an instructor [actually, I'm a lecturer]). The opportunities are plentiful. I'm starting to form the opinion that things will be even greater a year from now (mid-2000).

[12 May 1999, top]

Here are some random tidbits...

[11 May 1999, top]

My Exam Week Schedule
Monday -- off campus (email me)
Tuesday -- 11:00 to 1:00 (my office [LS-110])
Wednesday -- 7:30 to 9:20 AM (csc100; BU-128S)
             4:15 to 6:05 PM (csc200; PS-169S)
Thursday -- 9:30 to 11:20 AM (csc200; PS-169S)
Friday -- ???

Email works really well for me.

You can leave a message on my answering machine at 423-6110.
I'll try to check in from time-to-time.

I'm not going to give out my beeper number.
[07 May 1999, top]

[Cool Guy] In the Fall I will be teaching CSC185 -- World Wide Web and Introductory Internet Programming [Also listed as: CIS133DA -- The Internet/World Wide Web].

I had a full load without having CSC185, but I really want to teach it. If I really want to do something, then there is a remote possibility that it will turn out pretty good. The Internet is fun! It's the future of computing. Let's learn how to use it to its full potential.

Please note that CSC185 is not a programming course. You do not need to know a programming language. You do, however, need to understand the English language (wish I did).

Disclaimer: I am not a salesman, nor is this spam.

FLASH:   AT&T is becoming the nation's largest cable TV company (telephone, Internet, TV [what's left?]). Microsoft may invest up to $5 billion in AT&T [T - quote]. [05 May 1999, top]

Reading is Important!
Reading computer books and magazines is important if you want to do stuff with computers.

Over the summer I'm looking forward to reading Usability Engineering by Jacob Nielsen. Checkout out Nielsen's Alertbox: Current Issues in Web Usability website. It's great! This guy knows his stuff.

Here is a list of magazines laying around the office of ThurmUnit Industries.

[01 May 1999, top]

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 23 Apr 1999:

  • CIS223 students please read!

  • According a recent report, by Patricia Seybold, is the #1 book being read by the CEOs of Corporate America. Yikes... I'm currently in the process of reading this book!

  • Here are some new terms that are being proposed to bring computer terminology in sync with the metric system (e.g. in the metric system a kilo represents 1000, but computer-wise it is 1024).

  • The SCC CSC Newsletter for May, 1999 is available online. Printed copies will be distributed the first week of May.

  • Are U.S. Programmers Slackers?  According to a recent study, U.S. programmers produce 7,700 lines of code per year, compared with with 16,700 lines for non-U.S. programmers. Go to article. [An Aside: I have never liked "lines of code" as a measurement of programmer productively. Not all lines are created equal.]

  • The Open-Source Revolution by Tim O'Reilly, with an introduction by Esther Dyson, is an excellent article that tells you everything you need to know about open-source. The article is one of the few available freebie copies of the Esther Dyson's monthly report Release 1.0 ($695 per year).

[23 Apr 1999, top]

Great Article! The Longing -- The Web and the Return of Voice
from the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization -- JOHO.
[I particularly like David Weinberger's essay on 60s Recidivism.]

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 16 Apr 1999:

[16 Apr 1999, top]

If you have ever had a job that you thought really sucks, then visit the Jobs That Suck website. [I particularly like the picture of Santa Clause.] [14 Apr 1999, top]

I'd Like Your Opinion... I Want to Know...
I will buy your 10-employee company for $2.5 million. This is a low ball offer; your company is worth more. You say no! I take my $2.5 million and I offer it to your top five employees (i.e. $500,000 a piece). They all take the money and quit your company. Your company goes out of business and I "inherit" your product.

Enter your opinion in this text area:

Check this box if it is okay for me to post your opinion to the website.
What's your name?

[09 Apr 1999, top]

Here is a list of week-end tidbits:

[02 Apr 1999, top]

Sweet Melissa...
another email virus
At approximately 2:00 PM GMT-5 on Friday March 26 1999 CERT began receiving reports of a Microsoft Word 97 and Word 2000 macro virus which is propagating via email attachments. The number and variety of reports we have received indicate that this is a widespread attack affecting a variety of sites.

Here is the complete CERT advisory on this virus.

There are concerns about how things will be Monday AM when people return to work and start reading their email. In a nutshell, a user receives an email is containing a "list.doc" attachment. When they open the attachment, the Melissa virus automatically searches for an address book and it then sends a copy of itself -- along with the attachment -- to the 1st 50 names if finds in the address book. If you get such an email, then don't open the attachment. [28 Mar 1999, top]

In today's (Thursday, 25 Mar 1999) Business Section of the Arizona Republic is a blurb about a recently published article from Computerworld Magazine that rates the Phoenix area as one of the nation's top six locations for information technology (IT) jobs. Here is a link to the article named Silicon Silliness. The paper also presented the following salary schedule:

Web Developer Senior Programmer Project Manager Network Manager
$50,000-70,000 $60,000-75,000 $45,000-60,000 $50,000-65,000

You will have to go seek employment in Manhattan to get the highest salaries. Boston and Austin also pay well. [25 Mar 1999, top]

Give Me What You Got
(I want it, I want it)
On 23 Mar 1999 (Tuesday Evening), the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) passed a tuition increase of $2 per credit hour for the 1999-2000 year. The $2 increase raises the cost of a credit hour to $40. In the words of Maxwell Smart: "sorry about that." [24 Mar 1999, top]

Here is some Microsoft humor from USER FRIENDLY. [20 Mar 1999, top]

Computer Jobs Considered Good! According to the Jobs Rated Almanac, a new book ranking the best and worst jobs in the country, the top 10 jobs are (I've bolded the computer-related jobs):

  1. Web site manager
  2. Actuary
  3. Computer Systems Analyst
  4. Software engineer
  5. Mathematician
  1. Computer programmer
  2. Accountant
  3. Industrial engineer
  4. Hospital administrator
  5. Web developer

Using data from the government, trade groups and telephone surveys, the book ranked 250 jobs according to six criteria: income, stress, physical demands, potential growth, job security and work environment. Here is the complete list. [18 Mar 1999, top]

Finally... the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) breaks 10,000. This event occurred on Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 at 9:50 AM New York time (where were you?) when the Dow hit 10,001.12. The DJIA didn't stay at this magical level for long, but the 10,000 mark has been broken and this is a major milestone.

A concern that numerous people have is that many financial related programs were written assuming a 4-digit DJIA (the D10K problem); therefore, there is worry that a DJIA of 10,001 may be interpreted by a program as either 1000 or 0001 which in turn could cause computer-activated transactions to be posted. The financial community has been aware of the D10K problem for a long time and early indicators are that the computer systems are holding up well. [17 Mar 1999, top]

It's Spring Break! Are you stuck here in town over Spring Break? Well, if you like hiking, then checkout these 10 little-used trails near Phoenix. I suspect the hiking weather will be glorious.

Regardless of your spring break plans, please be sure to stay safe. [Excuse me while I preach: Don't drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.] [12 Mar 1999, top]

In that never ending search for quick, but tasty dishes that can be made by a four year old (and me)... Kim Martin, a co-worker of mine at SCC, has contributed her Steak and Beans and Savory Chicken recipes to the ThurmFood section of the website (i.e. they have become ThurmRecipes). Bottom line: If Kim says they are good, then they are good! [07 Mar 1999, top]

[News Flash]
The March free book contest is ready to begin! Here are the instructions. [05 Mar 1999, top]

Pocket-Sized Computers ThurmBit: World's Smallest Computers

Computers Sure Are Getting Small

[computer chip] [computer chip]
On 28 Feb 1999 the following was posted to the MOTD:

A professor of computer science at Stanford University has created a tiny Web server about the size of a business card and only a quarter-inch thick. The server uses a 486 processor and runs the Linux operating system. Here is a page from and a picture of the World's Smallest Web Server.

On 31 Jul 1999, posted The World's Smallest Webserver(s).

On 02 Sep 1999, I received the following URL IPic - A Match Head Sized Web-Server.

On 22 Nov 1999, TBTF gave out a URL to the webACE server.

More to come...

[28 Feb 1999, top]

As of Saturday evening, power has not been restored to my office; therefore, our Unix box is still down. They say it will be fixed sometime on Sunday, but they don't know when. As of 5:00 PM on Sunday the power was still off (they must be getting paid by the hour). [28 Feb 1999, top]

On Monday, 01 Mar 1999, I will be covering the  vi  text editor during that last half of my CIS223 (Advanced Unix OS) class. The session will begin between 6:15 and 6:30 (PM) in room PS-169S. All students are invited to attend. [Side-bar] Speaking of Unix... get a load of this guy's undying affection towards it. [23 Feb 1999, top]

IBM does Linux IBM announced on 18-Feb-99 that it would work with distributor Red Hat Software to bring the free Unix OS to its server and client systems. See this NY Times article and a report from Wired News for more details. Recall, a few months ago, both Intel and Netscape took equity positions in Red Hat Software. The addition of IBM to the "party" definitely is a major plus for the future of Linux. [What's linux?]
Food Stuff Now for something completely different... the following updates have been made to the ThurmFood section of the website [I shouldn't work on the website when I'm hungry]: [Side-bar] Thanks to the AZ Republic for publishing my George Alper letter to the editor in this Sunday's paper. But my letter is infinitely insignificant when compared to the letter of appreciation offered by the parents of Mikelle Biggs, who disappeared near her Mesa home on 02-Jan. I wish they lived next to me. [21 Feb 1999, top]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [15 Feb 1999, top]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [14 Feb 1999, top]

George Alper is a journalism teacher at Desert Vista High School. Ignoring district policy, Mr. Alper did the following: sold some of the school's out-dated computer parts at a swap meet, took that money and added $20,000 of his own money, got $20,000 of free software from Microsoft, and built an up-to-date computer lab for his students to use. As a reward for his efforts, the district suspended him for five days (or whatever). The AZ Republic, on 11-Feb-99, voiced their opinion on the matter and they agreed with the district's actions.

Pretend I'm Jackie Gleason: "I've got a big mouth!" I just had to comment (why can't I just say no?)
Here is a copy of the email I sent to the AZ Republic.
[Dana Saar, CSC200JB student, also sent a letter to the AZ Republic.] [11 Feb 1999, top]

Win a Free Book! The first free book contest of the semester is in place. All MCC, SCC, and former students can participate. In order to win, you must become mouse literate. Good luck! [06 Feb 1999, top]

We had a pot luck today here at SCC and I brought Corn Spoonbread. Want the recipe? Yes! I do.
By the way, be sure to checkout the new ThurmFood component of the ThurmUnit website. [04 Feb 1999, top]

Hot Workers Wag
the Salary Dog
Hiring high-tech workers with the right skills is starting to resemble the mad scramble for sports stars, with the largest companies offering big salaries, bonuses and other incentives that leave smaller firms struggling to compete.  "A candidate becomes what drives salary as opposed to there being a particular salary range for a particular skill set,"   says one professional recruiter.  "You can see someone right out of school with a technology that's hot earning more than someone with experience but a technology that's less hot. That's not normal, but it's been the norm for the past two years."   Article from EE Times Online.

While visiting the "EE Times" website, be sure to checkout their 1998 Salary Survey. [31 Jan 1999, top]

Cracking the Mind of a Hacker is a recent article from Wired News about a session held at a recent RSA Data Security Conference. The following are some quotes from the article:
  • "the average computer cracker is an obsessive middle-class white male, between 12 and 28 years old, with few social skills and a possible history of physical and sexual abuse"
  • "they relate better to computers than humans and spend hours and days glued to a computer"
  • one cracker's home was raided and they found the cracker with "a porta-potty under the seat, and he was buzzed out on Coca-Cola and candy"
What timing!   Crackers have compromised, a major software distribution center in the Netherlands. So far "trojan horse" code has been found in two packages on the site, TCP Wrappers [ CERT, bugtraq] and util-linux-2.9g. [29 Jan 1999, top]

SANS 1998 Salary Survey SANS Institute is a cooperative research and education organization through which more than 62,000 system administrators, security professionals, and network administrators share the lessons they are learning and find solutions for challenges they face.

The SANS 1998 Salary Survey has recently been published and is available online. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 75% of the administrators report 1998 salaries between $40,000 and $89,999. The average salary is $60,991.
  • Education counts. Holders of Masters Degrees report salaries $5,000 greater than average while those with less education report less than average.
  • The US SouthWest (including California) and US Northeast are the best places to make more money.
Survey details are available at (a small registration form must be completed). [24 Jan 1999, top]

Here is a cute quote that was attached to a recently received email:

Your mouse has moved. Windows NT must be restarted for the change to take effect. Reboot now?
[18 Jan 1999, top]

A "new" K&RII? I am always saying that anybody who wants (or is) a programmer should have a copy of  The C Programming Language  by Ritchie and Kernighan (K&RII) on their book shelf. Recently someone noticed that the book appears to have gotten thicker raising speculation that a new edition has been published. On 11 Jan 1999, Dennis Ritchie posted some clarifications about the book to the Usenet. [12 Jan 1999, top]

Cyberspace is getting crowded... there is CyberLove, CyberSex, CyberCrime, CyberCash, CyberSquatters and now CyberSuicide. [09 Jan 1999, top]

[POT] For a good time, call, err, click on 1-888-USA-4-Y2K [POT]
  There are some other interesting dates and numbers that will occur prior to Y2K. They are:
  • a 10,000 DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average -- when lots of financial software was written, the DJIA was below 1000 [today's close was 9643])
  • April 9th is the 99th day of the year (Julian calendar). Some programs may combine the day of the year with the year (i.e. 9999). For some programs, 9999 is a sentinel value used to indicate an end-of-data or end-of-file condition.
  • September 9th gives the date 9999.
It just goes to show... it's always something! [08 Jan 1999, top]

A new virus makes its way through the Web using a flaw in Excel as means to destroy data. Internet News provides some details. [06 Jan 1999, top]

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I'm Back... Tyler and I had a great trip (although it was a bit cold at times). I have a trip report if you are curious about what we did.

Here are some interesting tidbits that made the news while I was gone:

[30 Dec 1998, top]

Sing it Willie Nelson... On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. Going places that I've never been, oh I just can't wait to get on that road again.   My son (Tyler) and I off to Chicago by car. We are going the Albuquerque, Denver, Cheyenne, Omaha, Des Moines route. On the return trip, we will probably head south and come back across Texas (St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo and Albuquerque [again]). While in Chicago, I will be taking a break from the Internet (thank goodness). I'll be back online around the 30th of December. [17 Dec 1998, top]