MOTD::Archive::Spring 2001 (18 May 2001)

Fall 2000 MOTD

Week Ending 18 May 2001

EDU::Oooh, What a Lucky Man He Is
I want to extend a Thank You to all of the excellent students I had this semester. I have a great job and the students I've had at SCC play a big role in my overall happiness. If I can't grow the CS Program at SCC, then they should fire my foo.

EDU::SCC Graduation Tonight
I am looking forward to attending tonight's graduation ceremony at SCC. This will be my fourth graduation and each year the event makes me teary-eyed. This year I'm actually going to know some of the students graduating.

If you recall, last week I attended graduation ceremonies at USC and that was a great experience [I like USC now; good job MitchG]. During the ceremony a USC professor indicated that if you reduced our 6 billion-plus world population to 100 [preserving ratios] only one person would have a college degree. When expressed this way, I think it indicates how precious a college degree is. I yell congratulations to all of tonight's graduates.

Foo::Some End of Semester Fun
It is the end of Spring 2001 semester and time for fun.

[18 May 2001 (Cloudy... it is under a 100 -- 99° @ 2:55pm) top]


Week Ending 11 May 2001

I'm in LA...
I'm in LA attending the graduation ceremony at USC University. [Congratulations to MitchG!] I am hoping to return with some pictures from Exposition Park which is adjacent to the USC campus.

Since I don't travel with a computer, my email processing is down until Monday, 14 May 2001.

[cszero] Meeting Announcement
A [cszero] meeting will take place on Monday, 14 May 2001, at 7:00pm in room CM-471. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss our Summer 2001 Projects.

FoodHacker::Recipe::Corn Dog Casserole
My sister, JaniceB, always seems to come up with interesting recipes. If you like corndogs, then you will probably enjoy this corn dog casserole.

[11 May 2001 (I'm in LA and it's probably hot in Tempe @ 12:00pm) top]


Week Ending 04 May 2001

I've Been Lied To...
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Claremont McKenna College Students Win
Students at Claremont McKenna College have a website that school administration don't like. The school negotiated for two years with students to do something about the website and an agreement has been reached. The students will change the website domain name from ClaremontMcKenna.com to http://CMCStudents.com and in return the college will contribute $50,000 for the website's operating expenses. The college also will establish three annual fellowships and prizes for students who show promise as technology entrepreneurs.

The school has agreed to offer these annual prizes in the name of CMCStudents.com for at least 10 years. They will award a $1,000 prize to recognize a student entrepreneur, a $1,000 fellowship for students working on projects that focus on civil liberties and new technologies, and a $5,000 payment to support Web-based student projects

College Resolves Dispute With Students Over Dirt-Dishing Web Site from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Computer Humor
Computing is fun! As a result, computing humor floats all around the Internet. If you are an adult (however you define that), then you might enjoy the computer features from Rita's Future Website. [hyperlink from KimR]

[04 May 2001 (getting ready for A Taste of Artichoke, 72°... @ 10:37am) top]


Week Ending 27 April 2001

Tom's Hardware Guide
One of the benefits of being an Instructor at SCC is that I learn a lot about computing from my students. The other day during lecture I wanted to make sure that we knew about the company Intel and about Moore's Law. Intel is cutting prices on its CPUs and I said there was debate as to why Intel was doing this. A couple of students indicated it was because the Pentinum chips sucked when compared to other chips. I asked if they could backup their claim and they directed us to TomsHardware.com. The next day I shared this URL with the Unix class and some students couldn't believe that I was not aware of this website.

CPUs are not the only components getting cheaper; computer memory is now at its lowest price ever, partly due to excess inventory and partly because of the advent of double data rate (DDR) technology. During October 2000, $66 bought 64 MB of SDRAM, but today the same amount can purchase 256 MB. Not sure what DDR and SDRAM are? Maybe the RAM Guide from TomsHardware.com can help.

[More Moore's Law]
Last week's MOTD posting introduced us to Gordon E. Moore. Moore co-founded Intel back in 1968 and today is Chairman Emeritus of the Company. He invented a famous law and it is called Moore's Law.

On 26 April 2001, the front page of the Arizona Republic Business Section had a brief interview with Intel CEO Craig Barret. During the interview he was asked about Moore's Law.

AP: Are you surprised at how long the semiconductor has been able to sustain Moore's Law? Barrett: I think everyone has been amazed that Moore's Law has gone on as long as it has. I know that in 1965, when Gordon postulated that law, he didn't think it would be sustained over an extended period of time. That was 35 years ago, and we're still pretty much on track. Most people would suggest it's got somewhere between 10 and 20 more years. That would make about 50 years of doubling every 18 months. Mother Nature doesn't do many things of that sort. It is quite amazing to all involoved that something could be increasing geometrically for an extended period of time.

AP: Do you and Moore still discuss it? Barrett: We always talk how much longer these things can happen. We talk about much bigger wafers can get. How much more expensive fabrication facilities can become.

Student Competition for SCC slogan
The following was distributed to all SCC employees:

SCC will award a $100.00 cash prize for a selected slogan which will grace SCC marketing and PR publications and help establish an institutional identification. Deadline for submission is 05 May 2001. All entries must be submitted by email. Multiple entries permitted.
If you'd like to submit a slogan, then please email it to me and I'll pass it along to those running the show.

U2
I will be going to my first U2 concert this Saturday evening. [Sorry BreeT] My favorite U2 album is Achtung Baby with my favorite song being Even Better Than the Real Thing.

[27 April 2001 (sunny and warm, 92°... @ 1:05pm) top]


Week Ending 13 April 2001

MIT is Cool
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will make the materials for nearly all its courses freely available on the Internet over the next ten years. MIT is calling their initiative OpenCourseWare and the school's President was quoted saying:

OpenCourseWare is a natural marriage of American higher education and the capabilities of the World Wide Web... I hope other universities will see us as educational leaders in this arena, and we very much hope that OpenCourseWare will draw other universities to do the same. We would be delighted if -- over time -- we have a world wide web of knowledge that raises the quality of learning -- and ultimately, the quality of life -- around the globe.
I agree 100% with MIT's actions. Kind of reminds of what ThurmUnit has been doing for the last four years. [ MIT Press Release About OpenCourseWare]
Notes

OPENCOURSEWARE: SIMPLE IDEA, PROFOUND IMPLICATIONS
MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) project is an effort to freely
disseminate content for over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate
courses over the Web. Anyone in the world can make use of the
course materials, but the exact nature of OCW has stirred up
confusion. OCW does not offer online degrees, or even enrollable
courses; it also lacks the student-faculty interaction critical
for learning. Rather, it provides insight, either from faculty
or the university itself, into the kind of material needed to
achieve an MIT education. Furthermore, MIT's often harried
faculty only have 10 years to post all the material online; the
learning objects have yet to be rendered reusable; and the site
must be designed to offer both individuality and scalability
for content development. OCW is meant to counterbalance the
increasing privatization of education. Participation "reflects
the idea that, as scholars and teachers, we wish to share
freely the knowledge we generate through our research and
teaching," according to S. Miyagawa, professor of linguistics
at MIT.  (Syllabus, January 2002)

Money, Money, Money
Dice.com has posted the results of an IT Salary survey to their website. Here are some of the numbers.

   full-time IT positions:
      software engineer....................$63,324
      security analyst makes bit more, database analyst
      makes a bit less

      males................................$55,590
      females..............................$51,220

      18-24 year olds......................$40,726
      40-49 year olds (prime-timers).......$64,027
      60-64 year olds......................$60,419
      65 and over..........................$89,100

   contract:
      mean hourly rate for 1099 
      indpendent consultants...............$80 
      highest rate.........................$250
      lowest rate..........................$1
The Survey Says... [source: Dice.com]

Today is Friday the 13th [danger, danger]
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[Side-bar] Thomas Jefferson was born on this day in 1743, but Friday the 13th fell on a Wednesday that year.

[13 April 2001 (going to be a sunny day, 64°... @ 9:34am) top]


Week Ending 06 April 2001

Dot-Com Failures Help Reduce Space Problems
The dot-com "correction" has been major and it continues in a significant way. Many times bad stuff contains good stuff and that may be true given the current dot-com attrition that is taking place. In Silicon Valley, the dot-com shakeout is increasing vacancy rates and lowering rents (supply/demand at work). This trend may continue because numerous reports have been published predicting that 80% of the surviving dot-com tenants in the region will fail in the next year. Yuck.

Stupid is a Stupid Word
The KISS philosophy usually holds true when it comes to computing. KISS -- Keep It Simple Stupid -- is a truism. But how cruel! Stupid is a yucky word. I don't like to use the word stupid. [If anybody is stupid, then it is I and I'd rather be called dumb.]

We'd like to be able to say nothing is stupid; we'd like to say nobody is stupid; but we can't. The following items are examples of stupid.

Here are some stupid quotes from QuoteLand.com.

University of Arizona Can Sure Play Basketball
Congratulations to the University of Arizona for their excellent performace in the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. It is a bummer they didn't win, but they played great ball, they played hard, and they demonstrated solid sportsmanship. Lute Olson is a hall-of-fame coach. ThurmSpeaks::About Coaching [written May, 1999]

[06 April 2001 (wet AM, but partly sunny now, 65°... @ 5:45pm) top]


Week Ending 30 March 2001

Happy April Fool's Day
April Fool's Day is this coming Sunday (i.e. 01 April 2001). From the "least trustworthy source of news on the web [it's free and worth twice the price]" comes the April Fool's edition of the Frumious Bandersnatch. [ ThurmFoo::What's a Bandersnatch]

They Can Compute, but Can They Read and Write?
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has issued a study indicating that employers are interested in employees that have skills that extend beyond technical (sometimes referred to as soft skills). The following was taken from the NACE report.

In Order of Importance
Communication skills, honesty, teamwork, relating well to others, motivation and initiative, strong work ethics, analytical skills, flexibility, self confidence, leadership skills, organization, attention to detail, friendly or outgoing personality, tact, politeness, creativity, risk taking skills, and a sense of humor.
NACE -- Bridging Education and the World of Work.

The Flower Fields
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Texas Tech is My New Favorite School
Bobby Knight has landed in Lubbuck TX as Coach of the Texas Tech University basketball team. I hope they (the Red Raiders) win a national championship in a couple of years. If I'm a star high-school player, then I want to play for Bobby Knight. [ Article from ESPN.com]

[30 March 2001 (Sunny and warm... Death Valley-like day, 85°... @ 12:26pm) top]


Week Ending 23 March 2001

O'Reilly To Discontinue Software Development
O'Reilly and Associates is primarily a book publisher and they do an excellent job documenting Open Source tools. O'Reilly does (or should we say did) create software -- most noticeably a web-enabled discussion board, webserver software, and a Perl development toolkit. Turns out the Company has found it has a solid line of business that needs to continue to grow -- O'Reilly's online resources are extremely good. [ InternetNews.com Article]

Community College Night at ASU
The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Arizona State University is hosting a Community College Night on Monday, 09 April 2001. All students and faculty interested in Computer Science are invited to attend. Reservations are required. Call 480.965.0958 for questions or to make reservations.

ASU Memorial Union
Alumni Lounge, Room 202
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Light refreshments will be served.

New ThurmFood Recipe: Chicken Canterbury
I returned home for Winter Break and while there my mother made Chicken Canterbury. It was great so I brought home the recipe. On 22 March 2001 I made it and it came out very tasty. Here is ThurmRecipe::Chicken Canterbury.

[23 March 2001 (Sunny and very nice... 87°... @ 1:53pm) top]


Week Ending 16 March 2001

Every Thing's a Picture
I've returned safely from Death Valley, California. I am going to spend sometime this weekend writing up notes about this amazing road trip.

The southwest deserts of California are a real treat and I saw stuff that defies description. Trying to capture the epic-ness of Mother Nature on film is beyond my photography skills. At one stop in Death Valley a big car with Wisconsin plates pulled-over and this old guy [an old guy is any guy older than me] gets out to take a picture [an old lady stayed in stayed shotgun in the car]. It was obvious the old guy couldn't decide what to take a picture of -- I yelled over to him every thing's a picture and proceeded to hike out into the Devil's Cornfield for this picture. [And that was after hiking into these sand FOO dunes -- I printed the word foo into the side of a dune, but it didn't come out well.]

I've decided to consider myself lost; therefore, there will be no updates to ThurmUnit this week.

[16 March 2001 (Sunny... 72°... @ 12:08pm) top]


Week Ending 09 March 2001

Boohoo! To Yahoo! To Foohoo?
I don't know why I enjoy writing about Yahoo so much, but I do. Maybe it is because we like to say Yahoo!

First Spring Break of the 21st Century
Happy Spring Break 2001. My email processing will be down from 11 March 2001 to 15 March 2001 because I will be visiting one of my favorite places... Death Valley CA. If you like to look at maps, then here is my planned route.

New ThurmFood Recipe: Beer Brats
I graduated from South Milwaukee high school and got my BS degree from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. The people of Wisconsin are nicer than nice and they like their beer and brats. Here is how I make brats.

[09 March 2001 (Some sun, some clouds, nice... 70°... @ 4:01pm) top]


Week Ending 02 March 2001

What Is DMCA?
There are so many topics that warrant our study and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is one of them. I had a student who feels passionate about an area of computing and she authored a book and published it herself: DMCA by Marcia K. Wilbur.

MarciaW asked me for my opinion about the DMCA and I told her (via email) that I didn't know much about it because I had not learned about it, yet. I wrote some weird response where I referenced the Unix Philosophy. [Insert Excuse] I didn't have time to learn about it; therefore, any response of mine would have been of no value. MarciaW was gracious all the same.

To me copyright law and DMCA is yucky stuff and I don't want to allocate time to yucky stuff; I am forever grateful to the Marcia Wilbur's out there who are looking out for the good of the Internet.

I got a copy of MarciaW's book, and I'm mad about my contribution -- it sucked and MarciaW deserves better.

Thanks to MarciaW we have learned that we need to look closely at things like the DMCA and UCITA. This week we get an introduction to DMCA, then after Spring Break we take aim against UCITA.

DMCA -- Digital Millennium Copyright Act
DMCA raises important issues that need to be made public; and these issues must be presented to the public sooner rather than later because it is law that may make many of us criminals.

DMCA is legal stuff (its a law) and I do not understand, nor like legal stuff. I don't like spending my time on legal stuff. It is difficult to be learning about computing when we have to spend time wallowing in a sea of legal jargon where you have to define the meaning of the word is -- Bill Clinton [when President of the USA] was quoted saying "it depends on what your definition of is is"

Learning about DMCA is not going to help us develop our technical skills.

Laws like the DMCA are not going to help keep the Internet the fun and powerful tool that it is today and has been for the last 30 years.

Full Text of the DMCA [became law October 1998]

Here is a real-world example of how the DMCA could affect me.

A lot of information distributed by my fellow MCCCD employees is in Microsoft Word format. I use Unix -- I don't have Microsoft Word installed on my computer. If I install a program on my Unix system that can render Microsoft Word documents and use that program to read the information sent to me, then I could be in violation of some law. [Side-bar] I believe, however, that the law has a hook in it that would let me -- as a dot-edu -- do this without being a criminal.

An email message is sent to me containing a Microsoft Word document. If I'm restricted to using the Microsoft Word program to view the document, then according to my simple mind MY information is being held hostage.

[Technical Side-bar] The data should not be stored in a proprietary format in the first place -- it should be POT [Plain-Old-Text]; more specifically, it should be stored in XML [objectized POT].

DMCA information from the Spring 2000 CPSR Newsletter [It is amazing there is not an Arizona chapter of the CPSR -- the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.]

DMCA Statement from Educase.

PDF file containing MarciaW's book.
DMCA by Marcia K. Wilbur [pdf format; 1.8MB]

[02 March 2001 (Clouds with patches of blue... 62°... @ 6:16pm) top]


ThurmHoliday: President's Day

This year's President's Day is nothing when compared to the tragedy that has hit the Auto Racing world. I hope I never see another accident. A lot of people have had their wind knocked from them and we wish them strength. It is a honor to hyperlink to Dale Earnhardt.


Week Ending 16 February 2001

IBM... a Nazi Ally?
There is a new book coming out that links IBM with Adolf Hitler. Here are some quotes from the book.

"Hundreds of thousands of human beings were being identified, sorted, assigned and transported by means of [IBM's] card system."

"IBM did not invent Germany's anti-Semitism, but when Germany wanted to identify Jews by name, IBM showed it how. When the Reich wanted to use that information to launch programmes of social expulsion and expropriation, IBM provided the means. When the trains had to run on time between concentration camps, IBM offered the solution."

Here is an excerpt from the book provided by Sunday-Times.co.uk

IBM has had a lawsuit filed against it regarding the company's WWII activities. Here is an IBM statement on the Nazi-era book and lawsuit.

[Extra] Last Expression -- Art from Auschwitz from Northwestern University is a project that explores the roles, functions, meanings and making of art at the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.

How To Become a Hacker
Eric Raymond -- Open Source evangelist and ThurmDreamTeam member -- has written numerous pieces related to computing. His Hacker HOW-TO gives insight as to how to become a hacker.

[Extra] Raymond's classic, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, has been updated using an Open Source strategy. O'Reilly provides the following interview with Eric Raymond from 24 January 2001.

I'd Rather Drive 55, but...
Some sections of the 101 expressway have a posted speed limit of 65 miles per hours. This causes some problems and forced me to write ThurmSpeaks::About Driving 65.

[16 February 2001 (Getting sunny, but it is only... 62°... @ 1:55pm) top]


ThurmHoliday: Valentines Day


Week Ending 09 February 2001

Academic Decathlon
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New ThurmFood Recipe: Tater Tot Casserole
If you like hamburger and tater tots, then you will like this stuff. Although it doesn't contain any cheese, it sort of tastes like a cheeseburger. I got this Tater Tot Casserole from the John F. Long Cookbook, but it turns out the recipe has a slew of variations. [Wierd? a recipe from an old John F. Long cookbook and John F. Long donating land for a football stadium.]

New ThurmFoo: NBA -- National Bastards Association
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[09 February 2001 (Sunny, but cool... 60°... @ 3:45pm) top]


Week Ending 02 February 2001

Learning About Email [it is not easy]
Email is one of the oldest Internet-based applications [in 1972 Ray Tomlinson created an email program to send personal messages across the Arpanet]. Today, email is the Internet's most frequently used tool. I use the word tool because that is exactly what email is -- a tool. Although lots of people use email, many of us don't maximize its potential. I created the ThurmBit::Email to help us learn how to use email more effectively.

Look Who Google's Calling a Dumb Motherf#@^*r
Due to what was believed to be a fluke, the Google search engine brought up interesting results when people searched for the phrase dumb motherf****r.

Revolution O.S. Sounds Like Fun
Revolution O.S. is a movie that documents the GNU and Open Source movements. There may be an emphasis on Linux, but the movie does have a chance of showing many people that Linux is just one of many GNU and Open Source tools.

The 90-minute film begins with Richard Stallman's quest to create a free operating system. It then follows the movement through its two decades-long evolution in interviews with Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Eric Raymond (author of The Cathedral and The Bazaar), Bruce Perens, (author of the Open Source Definition), Brian Behlendorf (leader of the Apache Web server project), Michael Tiemann (founder of the first open source company) and Larry Augustin (founder of VA Linux Systems). [source: WiredNews::Culture]
Thanks to KevinM for this WiredNews hyperlink.

Happy Groundhog Day!
Every February 2nd is Groundhog Day. I'm not a Grounddog Day expert, but I found this Groundhog Day History enlightening. Plus, if you are looking for some humor, then you may enjoy these 11 reasons to celebrate Groundhog Day.

[02 February 2001 (Sunny and warming up ... 60°... @ 11:05am) top]


Week Ending 26 January 2001

Alcohol, Drug Abuse Rife Amoung IT Workers
IT (Information Technology) workers appear to like their booze and drugs. [I have always thought that guru programmers can and sometimes do live the rock'n roll lifestyle.] According to some experts, factors such as high salaries, unstructured schedules, and the fast pace of the new economy are fuelling the rise in substance abuse. Many companies are ignoring these problems because of the IT labor shortage.

I consider these reports to be a bunch of stuff... what's new? The computing profession always has paid high salaries to those who are good and it has always been fast paced with flexible work schedules. The reasons that can cause IT workers to abuse substances is not isolated to computing workers; I suspect it applies to a lot of different professions. [ Nua Internet Surveys]

Microsoft News Galore

Happy Super Bowl Sunday
If you have a favorite team, then I hope it wins. Sports has gotten strange: some kid throws an orange at Tiger Woods while he's putting; a basketball superstar has to slap his wife around in order to resolve an argument; and, the NFL gets the musical groups Aerosmith and *NSYNC to pose together for a picture.

[26 January 2001 (Sunny, but turning cloudy -- rain coming... 60°... @ 1:47pm) top]


Week Ending 19 January 2001

Another Semester is Upon Us
Today (19 Jan 2001) signifies the end of Winter Break. My feelings about this can be summarized in one word... bummer. I was not able to staff the Introductory Unix class; therefore, it will be a ThurmUnit presentation and once again I'm doing an overload. I have created an eGroup to support the Unix class and you are welcome to become a member. Send an empty email message to azunix-subscribe@egroups.com to join.

Still No AZ Chapter of the CPSR
Trying to start an Arizona chapter of the CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) is turning out to be a pain in the foo. I can't find anybody who is a CPSR member and we need CPSR members in order to start a new CPSR chapter. If you are a student or have little to no income, then you can become a CPSR member for $20 per year. This semester I am going to award two extra-credit points to all students who become CPSR members. For students who cannot afford to become members, I'm working on having a collection of memberships donated as gifts. Here is information about the CPSR.

Yahoo! to be Acquired?
First it was rumored that Disney was interested in buying Yahoo and now some investors are speculating that a company named Viacom is looking closely at taking over Yahoo. [Viacom is the world's 3rd largest media entity behind Disney and the newly formed AOL Tim Warner. CBS is a subsidiary of Viacom.] I've written an update on Yahoo's stock.

[19 January 2001 (Sunny, but cool... 63°... @ 4:27pm) top]


ThurmHoliday: Martin Luther King Day


Week Ending 12 January 2001

Y2K Defect Hits Norwegian Trains
From BBC News | Europe comes a report about how 16 brand new airport express trains and 13 long-distance trains failed to start on the morning of 31 December 2000 because onboard computers appeared not to recongnize the date 12/31/00. The problem was quickly solved by re-setting the computers. [ goto article]

ThurmUnit Needs a New Semester Processing Command
Every semester I spend a lot of time manually updating ThurmUnit to support a new semester. This is primarily done to keep webpage size down so that webpages can be quickly fetched regardess of connection speed. We want websites to be dial-up modem friendly. This week I archived the Periodic Communications sections of ThurmUnit. These sections include this MOTD, the Internet Observer, the Security Watchdog and the Unix & Linux Logger. Here is information about the origins of MOTD.

Bander Snatches, Krispe Kremes, Harlow's Cafe -- What's Next?
ThurmFood has a bunch of stuff piling up. For example, a piece on Alice's Restaurant along with a couple of Alice's recipes; I've got some recipes from my mother and sister [I'm anxious to try Corn Dog Casserole and Banana Bread Pudding]; and, we have some comments and variations on the Artichoke Garlic Bread recipe [it's a hit and worth repeating]. Plus, I finally went to Four Peaks Brewery [it's great]; Chuy's has become a favorite; and Cafe Istanbul found the ThurmUnit write-up of their restaurant and they actually thanked me for it. If your hungry, then visit ThurmFood.

[12 January 2001 (Rainy and Chilly... 50°... @ 5:44pm) top]


Fall 2000 MOTD

Week Ending 05 January 2001

I'm Out of Town...
I'm off to visit my parents and sister back in Joliet, Illinois, for a few days; consequently, I will not be making any postings to ThurmUnit this week. Here are a few quickies for you to ponder:

I will be off-line until early next week (say 08 Jan 2001).

Inficad Screw Up
Inficad, my Internet Service Provider (ISP), installed some new hardware and in the process caused some previously sent email to be re-sent. Yuck! If you have received some old email from me, then I apologize. I've already had words with Inficad, but that doesn't do any good. Again, on balance, I am a happy Inficad customer and would recommend them to anybody looking for an ISP.

[05 January 2001 (Mostly Sunny... 64°... @ 10:09am on Thursday 04 Jan 2001) top]