MOTD::Archive::Spring 2002 (10 May 2002)
|Fall 2001 MOTD|
About Revolution OS -- The Movie
Thanks to the Phoenix Linux Users Group (PLUG), I was able to see a showing of the movie Revolution OS. I rate the movie three out of five stars and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys the history of computing.
The movie, which is a documentary, did a nice job accurately presenting the history of the Linux operating system and the open source movement. The movie would have gotten five stars if it had started at the beginning with Multics. The idea for Unix was generated as a result of Multics. Since being created in the early 70s, Unix has morphed itself into Berkeley Unix (BSD), GNU (Gnu is not Unix), various and sundry commercial forms, and Linux. The seed of Unix was planted back in the late 60s, but the movie Revolution OS doesn't pick up the story until the early 80s. Too bad they didn't take their cameras to New Jersey.
Revolution OS ends with a short segment about the dot-com bust. The viewer learns about how stocks like Red Hat and VA Software crashed after experiencing all-time record IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). I would have liked to see some discussion about what went wrong. We learn how Augustine felt when VA Linux Systems went public, but I want to hear him speak about his company and the state of the open source revolution at the movie's end.
Revolution OS (the website) | PLUG
Jocks Make Good Computer Professionals?
Say what? Somebody posted this to a Career Development thread discussing what makes up good interview questions.I think the best question to ask has nothing to with IT, however it is a great bellweather for whether or not he/she is going to fit in. Ask the question, "Did you play on a team sport in high school or college?" In today's world of extreme programming and in regards to general group dynamics, the answer to this question will go a long way into whether or not the person can handle group situations well or not.I played sports and I'm not sure it did anything positive for me. Back in 1987, I heard about a computer company that would not hire a programmer unless they could play a musical instrument, but I have never heard of a company that required its employees to be former jocks.
Tonight is SCC's Graduation Ceremony
Tonight I will be attending my 5th SCC Graduation Ceremony. I suspect there will be a couple of students graduating that I know and to those students I say Congratulations!.
[10 May 2002 (last Spring 2002 MOTD posting, sunny, clear and warm, 95° @ 1:05pm) top]
HP-Compaq -- Time to Do It
The court dismissed Hewlett's case and he has waved the white-flag (i.e. he gives; he has abandoned his merger challenge). So now it is all about Carly. It is Carly's responsibility to guide the HP-Compaq integration and make sure the outcome is a top-notch ethically grounded computer company. Compaq and HP have been great companies; hopefully, together, they can become even greater.
YATI -- Yet Another Tuition Increase
Tuition at the Maricopa County Community Colleges is increasing 7% to $46 per credit hour. For a full-time college student, this implies an additional $90 in tuition costs.
The following table was printed in the 02 May 2002 Valley & State section of the Arizona Republic.1997-98 ... $90 1998-99 ... $30 1999-00 ... $60 2000-01 ... $30 2001-02 ... $60 2002-03 ... $90
Since I have started teaching, tuition costs have risen $360. An education that cost $1,020 five years ago, now costs $1,380.
YASO -- Yet Another Semester Over
I have just completed my 10th semester of full-time teaching (five years). I have obtained MCCCD's equivalent of tenure. The Spring 2002 semester has been both rewarding and frustrating: rewarding because I have had some excellent students; frustrating because not all students get excited about Learning About Computing.
I have a great job and consider myself an extremely lucky man. I want to extend a ThurmThanks to all of the students I have had this semester. I wish each and everyone of you the best luck as you continue your trip through life.
[03 May 2002 (an excellent May day, clear blue skies, 75° @ 10:00am) top]
Finding the Programming Zone
Having a good work environment is critical to doing good work. I like a dark office with bright light shining down on what I am reading. It is not necessary to have a window, if anything, windows can cause me to go out and play. I like my work area to have white noise (I'm into fans). I've had cubicles before and they are okay, but I prefer an office with a door. Work hours are completely random; however, I do my best work during the early AM hours. There are times when it is impossible to produce good code and these times are frustrating. But there are also times when the code flows freely from your brain, to your fingers, to the keyboard, and into a text editor. This is when programming is most fun. [ Slashdot::Finding the Programming Zone]
New TV Series? Payton Place HP
Payton Place HP is a computing Payton Place starring Carly Fiorina and Walter Hewlett. Carly is the CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and she is trying to get her company to merge with Compaq. Walter is the son of a HP co-founder and he is trying to keep the merger from happening. HP and Compaq shareholders have voted for the merger to occur, but Hewlett is claiming chad manipulation. Lines to get in to the first day of the trial snaked around the courthouse. Some people were paid $20 to $45 an hour to hold a spot in line for corporate lawyers, Wall Street traders, and others. Internal HP email messages have been fetched from backups and are being used as evidence in a court room battle that would have excited Perry Mason. Carly claims she is being called a liar, but she is a CEO; therefore, that cannot be true. Walter has lost his spot on the HP board and he doesn't understand why. Who needs OJ? [SiliconValley.com HP Weblog]
Biotech Plan Created to Prepare Students
The Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) has launched a $1.5 million plan to help students prepare for biotech jobs. This is great news and I am glad to see my employer realizing that Biotech is a important (and growing) field. Now they should allocate some money to help prepare students for computing jobs because biotech can't happen without computers and software.
Finally, ThurmFood Gets a New Recipe
It has taken all semester, but ThurmThanks to DebraK for providing this new ThurmFood recipe: DebbieK's Cream Puffs.
[26 April 2002 (partly cloudy, breezy, 75° @ 10:20am) top]
Scripting News by Dave Winer
The following three items were found on Dave Winer's Scripting News Weblog.
- Tim O'Reilly comments on a letter received from Grady Booch in which Booch comments that old source code and design documents should be preserved. Here is a copy of Booch's letter to O'Reilly.
- Time and time again it is tempting to command somebody to Read The F*****g Manual when they are having problems doing a computer-related task. Most of the time this doesn't do any good. Here is an article that attempts to explain Why RTFM Doesn't Work.
- Do you ever long to hear Homer's voice? If Yes, then you may find relief using this Homer Simpson Soundboard.
The Scripting News Weblog is located Scripting.com. [What's a weblog?]
Books, Books, Books
Learning About Computing requires the ability to learn from good computer books. The ThurmBooks resource was created five years ago to help us learn about good computer books. Here is a note that I wrote to remind myself that ThurmBooks needs maintenance.
Turning 45 in 45 Days
It is 19 April 2002 and I am 38 days away from my 45th birthday. Last Friday, after updating the MOTD, I learned that my 45th birthday was 45 days away. This revelation prompted me to write ThurmFoo::Turning 45 in 45 Days.
[19 April 2002 (it may be a windy day, currently clear and sunny, 63° @ 7:40am) top]
Excellence Under The Stars
As a Residential (full-time) Faculty member at SCC, I am required to serve on at least one committee; as a result, I am member of the Academic Recognition Committee. Our committee has only one task: Put on the annual Excellence Under The Stars awards ceremony. [I do the website for the event.]
Summer Break Rapidly Approaching
I will be doing a lot of Learning About Computing (i.e. [cszero]) work over the summer. This is an important summer for me. The [cszero] system must be setup. I have been awarded a Learning Grant from the Maricopa County Community College District to get the [cszero] system in place. My efforts will be documented on ThurmUnit.
I am able to apply for a year-long sabbatical. At one point, I was going to demand the sabbatical: Give it to me, or else I quit. But quitting is not a choice; therefore, I need to write a business plan in the form of a sabbatical proposal. The proposal must be completed by 01 October 2002. I'd like to just point them to ThurmUnit. ThurmUnit is the sabbatical. The sabbatical is all about ThurmUnit. ThurmUnit becomes a contributor to
[cszero]. ThurmUnit is the dot-com, dot-org, dot-net, dot-us world. [cszero] gives us a dot-edu affiliation. The ThurmUnit motto: We Learn It, We Do It, We Teach It.
I have already started work on the sabbatical proposal. This is going to be the most important document that I've ever written. The sabbatical will allow me to be a Programmer again, but this time The Code belongs to anyone who can use it and learn from it.
[12 April 2002 (sunny and warm, 90° @ 12:10pm) top]
HP Crap (chad bickering)
Hewlett is suing HP over the HP-Compaq shareholder vote. HP announces they don't want Hewlett on The Board anymore. Hewlett must believe in his heart that the HP-Compaq merger is bad for HP. He is lucky to have the resources to put up such a huge fight defending his investments. I think Hewlett should be on The Board. HP was a great company. Today it is good company. It needs to become a great company again -- the computing world needs a strong HP. HP-Compaq can be a great company, but it cannot do it without a supportive shareholder base and strong leadership.
It's ATF Meeting Time
This semester's ATF (Articulation Task Force) Meeting is being hosted by Arizona Central College located in Coolidge, AZ. I am making the meeting into a one-day, approximately 200 mile, road trip to Picacho Peak National Monument.
ThurmSeats::ASU Men's Basketball
I am looking forward to becoming a season ticket holder to ASU men's basketball games. I am going to request center-court rafter seats (i.e. last row). There will be times when I will sit alone, but in a couple of years, when ASU has a Maryland-like team, my isolated seats will be filled with avid ASU fans. I want to extend a ThurmThanks to Rob Evans for staying at ASU.
[05 April 2002 (early AM, still dark, 65° @ 5:08am) top]
CPSR::I Vote For Nathaniel S. Borenstein
[azwww]Yahoo groups have been spammed. To me, it feels these groups have been cracked. The sender of the spam needs to learn about network etiquette. Spam violates my computing ethics.
These spam messages are going to require me to allocate time to do computing stuff that I don't want to do [and shouldn't have to do]. They are taking away my computing freedoms.
As a computer programmer (who just happens to be able to call myself a professional and teacher) I feel is it my responsibility to publicly speak out on the issue and take an active role in defending my computing freedoms. For me, these spam messages are not nice. They trespass on my disk space. They are garbage in my in-box. They add no value to my overall well-being. They are noise on the Internet. They are nothing more than ewaste. Spam messages make the WWW a World-Wide-Wasteland.
I get to vote in the upcoming CPSR election. I consider this an extreme honor. I am excited about voting for Nathaniel S. Borenstein. [He is a computing Guru.] Here is a quote from Dr. Borenstein:CPSR must remain a voice that speaks out against routine monitoring of Internet traffic. We must continue to speak out against the use of computer technology to erode personal privacy in the name of ill-considered security concerns. Most important, we must continue to champion the idea of an Internet that is not dominated by either governmental or commercial interests, an Internet that will work to bring people of the world increasingly closer to each other in an environment of free speech and respectful tolerance.Next time I go to a CPSR function, I'm going to say Hello and Thank You to Nathaniel.
GIGO... Garbage In, Garbage Out
I amazes how freely we pollute Mother Nature. Our roadways and country-sides are littered with garbage. It turns out that those people who are trying to clean-up America are finding more than just garbage along our roads. Learning about this prompted me to write ThurmSpeaks::About Garbage In, Garbage Out.
ThurmFinger... An Electronic Finger (i.e. efinger)
Time-and-time again I have needed to give somebody the Finger via the ThurmUnit website. But, because of the offensive nature of the Finger, I have had to wrap a ThurmDisclaimer around it. If you want me to give you the Finger, then click this hyperlink.
[29 March 2002 (cloudy and a little breezy, 76° @ 12:17pm) top]
The HP-Compaq Vote is In
Compaq votes YES (in a big way), but HP can only say they think the vote was yes. The HP vote was close and there will probably be chad-bickering that goes on before it is official. If HP does become HP-Compaq, then I hope they are successful at establishing a good computer company. I hope they take a leadership role in promoting and supporting free and open computing. Granted: the Company's primary objective is to make money for shareholders, but I hope they can make shareholders happy without always dipping our wallets. Press releases: HP | Compaq
This Joke is Getting Old
The issue as to where to dump the Arizona Cardinal's football stadium continues to be nothing more than one long joke. It is great fun for politicians and lawyers are just waiting to make lots of money when the final decision is made. A few weeks ago I suggested the Cardinals fly to L.A. and use the football stadiums there, but now I think it should be part of the Yucca Mountain Project. [Arizona can annex some of Nevada to pull off the deal.]
Trip Report Done
When it comes to computing, the ThurmUnit motto is We Learn It, We Do It, We Teach It. When it comes to road tripping, the motto morphs into We Plan It, We Do It, We Document It. ThurmRoadTrip::SpringBreak2002::US-50.
[22 March 2002 (sunny and warm, blue sky, 86° @ 12:14pm) top]
spam Is Ugly Stuff
My in-box is busting. spam, spam, spam, and then more spam. Something about Google and filtering. I really like how Google filters stuff. My in-box was un-read for six days. In that time it received about 250 email messages that it kept (more than half were spam), and 85 messages that got re-directed to my spam file. I don't like SPAM nor do I like spam, but I would eat SPAMburger Hamburger to get rid of spam.
Comes A Time
Driving west-to-east on US-50 (America's Loneliest Road) through the center of Nevada listening to Neil Young and the Grateful Dead. My son Tyler riding shotgun. I'm a lucky man.
The trip was nothing more than a continuous stream of adventures. Visiting caves in the Mojave desert, hiking Kelso Dunes in the Mojave desert, the tall thermometer (134 feet high; the 134 is symbolic of the hottest day ever recorded at Death Valley), driving 100mph with cruise control on, driving a maximum speed of 115mph, searching for Devil's Hole, experiencing the epic-ness of Mother Nature in Death Valley, the scenic drive up the west side of Nevada, getting stuck in the Black Rock Desert, detouring to Reno to buy new shoes, hiking Sand Mountain, making a phone call on the Loneliest phone, eating a huge hamburger in Austin, taking mural shots in Ely, visiting caves in the Great Basin National Park, driving a snow storm in a desolated (but luckily flat) part of Utah, detouring to Las Vegas to stay on expressway and to get out of the snow (but I-15 was bad for a long time), fighting winds from St. George UT to Las Vegas, eating like pigs at the Main Street Casino buffet, listening to Howard Stern, avoid having an accident on US-93 from Kingman to Phoenix, and having a final meal in Tempe at LaFonda.
Directory listing of pictures.
[15 March 2002 (late posting, sun going down, 60° @ 6:26pm) top]
Ditherati Dither, Daily
Ditherati partially describes itself as follows:"As technology wars move from product to propaganda, and CEOs like Scott McNealy describe their responsibilities solely as being 'quote machines' for the press, Ditherati intends to throw a wrench or two in the works - if not a Molotov cocktail."Owen Thomas, the man behind Ditherati, provides a fun and useful resource. [More... ThurmFoo::Ditherati Dither]
From Politics to Jon Postel to Death
It never ceases to amaze me the infinite number of ways we can end up Learning About Computing. I accuse a Tempe politician of being a cybersquatter and his reply leads me to Jon Postel (one of the Internet's founding fathers) and that in turn has resulted in the creation of my ThurmDeadTeam.
Not Being pc is Not Easy
Recall from last week's posting, that pc stands for politically correct. [PC stands for Personal Computer.] I attended a meeting at school this week and attempted to ignore being pc. An issue came up that resulted in somebody deciding that our actions could offend somebody (i.e. hurt their feelings). I'm attempting to minimize pc and so my response was I don't care. Taking such a stand can cause some people not to like you. As Rick Nelson sang many years ago, "But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well. You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself." [ ThurmOogle::Rick Nelson Garden Party]
ThurmUnit Continues to Grow
I just keep adding more and more and more content to ThurmUnit. Lots of stuff; some stuff is good; some stuff is bad; and some stuff is ugly. Since it is the start of Spring Break 2002, I decided to check the sizeof(ThurmUnit).
[08 March 2002 (sunny, 74+° day; @ 12:55pm) top]
These days PC stands for Politically Correct. It use to stand for Personal Computer. These days I don't see anything PC about PCs. [ More...]
These days PC stands for Politically Correct. How do you define correct? I want PC to stand for Personal Computer and politically correct gets minimized to pc. [ More...]
Spring Break 2002::Great Basin National Park
[01 March 2002 (sunny, dusty sky, blustery, 73+° day; @ 1:13pm) top]
It's Hewlett and Packard Versus Hewlett-Packard
The HP-Compaq merger vote will go to shareholders on 18 March 2002. Current poll results found on InternetWorld.com show that as of 12 February 2002 325 respondents have voted
The William R. Hewlett Revocable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and other stockholders representing more than 18% of the shares of Hewlett-Packard have said publicly that they are opposed to this deal and they have created VoteNoHPCompaq.com.
The company Hewlett-Packard is still determined to merge with Compaq and it has created VoteTheHPWay.com.
My Old School Makes News
During the recent MLK Holiday, I visited my old school for the first time in twenty years... look what happens.The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater has temporarily rescinded a newly published free-speech policy that students and staff and faculty members had complained was open to misinterpretation and could potentially impede the open exchange of ideas. [ UW-Whitewater Official News Release] [12 February 2002]
Here is picture of a UW-Whitewater sign taken 19 January 2002. [Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign]
Professional Sports in Arizona
I am a former jock, but I am completely turned off to professional sports. I have stopped spending my own money to see a professional sporting event. Stephon Marbury's recent DUI arrest has the Phoenix Suns back into the news; therefore, I had to write about sports in Arizona. [adult content]
[15 February 2002 (on the road again... cloudy, 55° @ 9:32am) top]
Do you know what MMORPG stands for? Me neither, but according to O'ReillyNet it is what gamers call a massive, multiplayer, online, role-playing game. WorldForge is a three-year old online community that wants to build a MMORPG using an open-source model.
Unix, Objects; Super Bowl; More or Less
English teachers would probably get headaches if they read the stuff I write, but I write because there is stuff to say and I need the practice. Here are three ThurmSpeaks I wrote this week.
- ThurmSpeaks::About Super Bowl 2002
- ThurmSpeaks::About Speaking About Unix and Objects
- ThurmSpeaks::About Less is More... More or Less
Guess Who Turned 50 on 05 February 2002
Mr. Potato Head turned 50 years old on 05 February 2002. I remember playing with Mr. Potato Head when I was kid and again when I had my own kids. I turns out Mr. Potato Head is a world traveler and he has been spotted at various Arizona locations.
Note: Mr. Potato Head has been Four Corners and I've been there too. Here are a couple of my pictures: #0 | #1.
[08 February 2002 (here comes 'that lucky old sun'... 46° @ 7:41am) top]
YACO::Yet Another Computing Organization
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Tomorrow (02/02/02) is Groundhog Day
04 February 1841 - Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania)
From storekeeper James Morris' diary..."Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."Groundhog.org is the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
[update::02-02-02] The groundhog saw his shadow; therefore we have six more weeks of winter.
Long Term Plan...
It appears as though my first official week of sabbatical may find me spending the week at the 2003 Burning Man Festival. According to Burning Man organizers, getting a ticket from the first batch of tickets is similar to what you had to do to get tickets to Grateful Dead concerts. [Speaking of concerts, here is a list of concerts I remember attending.]
[01 February 2002 (conducting a CTI sponsered XHTML seminar today... 43° @ 5:37am) top]
AOL Time Warner: Real Programmers Say No
AOL Time Warner made it into this week's Internet Observer, Unix & Linux Logger, and Security Watchdog; consequently, I figured to make it an AOL grand-slam by posting something about it in this week's MOTD.
I don't think a computer professional should have an AOL email address. Right or wrong, some email addresses carry negative subliminal messages and
aol.comis one of them (as is
My old friend DennisK has an aol.com email address. Dennis is not a computer professional and AOL works for him and it is fine he uses it. [I visited DennisK during the Spring 2002 MLK holiday. I hadn't seen him in over twenty years. He found me using the Internet. Here are pictures.]
I'm tired of AOL news, but I have a feeling there will be more over the course of this semester.
My Web Programmer Interview
Somebody posted a message the AZIPA mailing list asking for feedback as to the qualities one looks for in a web programmer. I had to reply, but my reply got long so I made into a webpage: ThurmEDU::Web Programmer Interview. [I have had one response telling me this is the most ignorant posting they have seen.]
I am a Condiments Junkie
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[25 January 2002 (I've got a great job...windy, sunny, but a cool 57° @ 10:00am) top]
In Computing, Size Matters
The following was obtained from DailyNews.Yahoo.com via NYTimes.com.In the dry language of business, it does not sound like much 'integration risk.' But it represents the greatest single doubt that surrounds the merger plan of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer, and the biggest obstacle to winning shareholder approval for the deal. The concern, in simple terms, is this: Big mergers in the computer industry never seem to work.
It is the 21st Century. "Big" mergers must work.
In Search of Students
The CSC Program at SCC has been experiencing low enrollments. As a result, I have expanded time and energy trying to recruit students by posting a couple of items to some of the local Users Groups and by attending local events such as Techie Tuesday.
The SCC enrollment problem does not appear to be isolated to SCC. The University of Lethbridge (which is located one hour north of Montana), has stiff competition for students. So to attract Computer Science students, it is staging an online competition where those who succeed are placed in a drawing for one year's free tuition, worth $2,864. The second and third prizes are worth $636 and $318, respectively. [ More... from Chronicle.com]
On The Road Again...
I am off to my parents home in Joliet, Illinois. On Saturday, I am going to borrow their car and drive into Wisconsin to visit a couple of old college companions. In addition, I am planning on visiting my old school -- University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
[18 January 2002 (Damn early...43° @ 4:44am) top]
About the MOTD...
The MOTD (Message-Of-The-Day) is a resource that is updated on a weekly basis. Typically updates occur sometime on Friday. Each update usually consists of three items. Most items -- but not all -- are related to computing.
The MOTD was started during the Fall 1997 semester and each year it gets larger and larger. The Internet Observer, Unix and Linux Logger, and Security Watchdog were all spawned by the MOTD.
Here are some examples of queued MOTD postings: more stuff on the HP-Compaq merger; the condiments museum; if Dr. Seuss wrote techincal manuals; weird error messages; high-tech stocks at four months; College to the Community Day; the return of the CSC Monthly Newsletter; the value of archives; the Internet as an enabler of groups; Biology and Computing; the ThurmUnit/MIT connection; the summer of 2002; Arizona chapter of the CPSR; women in computing; opt-out must be the default; killing spam; Martin Luther King day; my return to Wisconsin; Plan 9 from Outer Space; the Computer Training Institute; in the pursuit of geeks; WikiWikiWebs; [azcares] helps HomeBase; spring break road trip to southwest Oregon [lots of nothing].
[11 January 2002 (4 months since 911 [today is 111 when written like 911]...71° @ 5:07pm) top]
Back To Work Today
This morning I attended the Maricopa County Community College District Faculty Convocation 2002 hosted by Phoenix College. This year's theme was " Customs, Traditions, and Celebrations: The Human Drive for Community" It was an event that had food, guest speakers, and entertainment. I got a folder that contained a nice laminated map of The World which I'm going to put up in my office. Two of the speakers spent time with the Peace Corps teaching in Yap Micronesia. I want to extend a ThurmThanks to my employer for providing such an event.
New Season Processing; Rollovers; Archival
I have been having fun working on the internal structure of ThurmUnit. I have neglected archived materials and that has been a mistake. The computing environment is different than it was four years ago. ThurmUnit has notes from four years ago sitting in the archives. This data can make for interesting then-and-now comparisons. Externally, the MOTD#top has been modified and the Security Watchdog and Unix & Linux Logger layouts have been tweaked.
About the Spring 2002 Semester
My Spring 2002 schedule will be decided late next week. If the
go/no-gowas held now at Fri Jan 4 15:36:43 MST 2002, then I could see the CSC200 and CIS166 classes being cancelled. If administration is willing to deal, then the CIS166 class will be a
goand CSC200 will be a
no-go. It is not good to have a
no-gobecause you have to explain why. Here are the current enrollment numbers.csc200..... 6 [intro/intermediate java] cis166..... 7 [web programming] cis162.....11 [intro c/c++] unix.......24 [intro unix]
[04 January 2002 (neil was right... it's all one long song; sunny 65° @ 4:45pm) top]