MOTD::Archive::Spring 2006 (20 May 2006)

Fall 2005 MOTD

Week Ending 13 May 2006

Foo::Wal-Mart and the Smiley Face
The smiley face is so widely used that it is difficult to believe somebody can start enforcing a trademark on it. { Wal-Mart seeks smiley face rights}

RoadHacker::Summer 2006 Break Road Trips
RoadHacker currently has three summer road trips planned. The first will be a two-day road trip to Kingman, Flagstaff and Winslow; the second will be five days driving US Hwy-61 via St. Louis; and the third is four days driving US Hwy-60 across New Mexico to Earth, Texas.

MOTD::Last Posting for Spring 2006 Semester
This is the last MOTD posting for the Spring 2006 semester. The Summer 2006 Break MOTD will be created next week.

[13 May 2006 (last posting for Spring 2006; already 73° at 5:25am) top]

Week Ending 06 May 2006

Computing::BitMover Has Some Nice Job Postings
BitMover (the makers of BitKeeper) have numerous job postings on their website. For example, the following are skills expected of a SysAdmin.

   # Be expert at Bourne shell scripting
   # Be good at Perl (preferably old school perl 4)
   # Speak C well enough to write a basic more(1)

A software engineers should know TCL, Perl, Troff. I think this the first time I've ever seen troff in a job posting. { Systems Administrator }

Computing::Edgeos is Hiring
Edgeos posted a good sounding help wanted advertisement to the local user groups. The primary skills Jay Jacobson is looking for are Linux (Debian preferred), Python, and PostgreSQL. { Private-Labeled Vulnerability Assessment and Security Services}

Math::78 BARS and Counting
To date, 78 BARS (Basic Arithmetic Road Signs) have been created. 19 BARS have been submitted to BARS, which are a special form of BAB (Basic Arithmetic Bit), take on different forms--there are road signs, street signs, trail signs, and highway signs. The following collections have been created: prime number and square number highway signs; and prime number speed limit signs. During the summer of 2006, RoadHacker and TempeHiker should produce lots of BARS. {GDT::BAB:: Basic Arithmetic Road Signs (BARS)}

[06 May 2006 (one week left before GDT's summer officially begins; 66° at 5:55am) top]

Week Ending 29 April 2006

Computing::McNealy Done as CEO of Sun
For 22 years, Scott McNealy was CEO of Sun Microsystems. Sun has been a great Unix company and maybe under the leadership of Jonathan Schwartz it will become a bigger participant in the FLOSS movement. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Scott McNealy No Longer CEO of Sun Microsystems}

EDU::Declining Enrollments, Yet We're Getting Raises
The Maricopa Community Colleges saw a decline in enrollments during the 2005-06 academic year. Despite this, fifty new faculty are being hired and existing faculty are getting a raise. The raise is a 1% (yes one percent) salary adjustment and step increases for those who are eligible. Lucky for me, whose on the top step of his respective ladder, a new step is being created. Faculty at top of scale as of 6/30/06 are getting a temporary 1% adjustment, in effect for FY06-7 only. It is important to note that our 1% increase is applied to a "base" salary of $39,628 (this is the salary somebody receives if they have zero academic teaching experience). The Maricopa Community Colleges are increasing adjunct pay 5% to $744.

Math::TempeHiker Finds Signs in Mesa
TempeHiker took a 50 minute, 15.5 mile, roadtrip into Mesa to take pictures of signs. He came home with eight signs and all of them contained math. {GDT::BAB::BARS:: South Macdonald in Mesa, Arizona}

[29 April 2006 (Tempe has a graffiti problem; 61° at 5:29am) top]

Week Ending 22 April 2006

Computing::Teaching CS in K-12
I am hearing and reading more and more about starting to get CS into K-12 curriculum. Excellent idea for the sustainability of the United States. I know that the CS program at ASU is working with a local high-school and hopefully the Maricopa Community Colleges will be contributing collaborators. A recent news items reported that IBM and the ACM's Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) have "joined forces to promote computer science in high schools." { Computer Science Teachers Association}

EDU::What's a poser?
I heard the term poser the other day and the following news items provides an example of a poser.

   "A tenured professor at the University of Saskatchewan has been 
    fired for posting derogatory comments on 
    about other faculty at the university."

An independent arbitration committee came to the following conclusion.

   "In a university context it is quite simply intolerable for 
    a senior professor to pretend to be a student in order to 
    anonymously attack his colleagues."

The professor was caught because he posted to using his school computer. This professor had been teaching math at the University of Saskatchewan for thirty years; he deserved to be discovered for what he is--a bad poser.

Math::The Number 420
For Arizona, 20 April 2006 was both Tax Freedom Day® and National Pot Smokers Day. I celebrated being free of my tax responsibilities by doing a lot of plain-old-text. {GDT::BAB:: About the Number 420 (four hundred twenty)}

TempeHiker::University Way on Country Club Way
There is a stretch along north/south Country Club Way that could be named University Way because the intersecting east/west streets are named after universities. Southbound University Way ends at Sesame Street. {TempeHiker::Tempe:: University Way on Country Club Way}

[22 April 2006 (today is Earth Day; 64° at 6:42am) top]

Week Ending 15 April 2006

Computing::Software Engineer is Best Job in America
Money Magazine and issued a report of the top 50 jobs in America and software engineer was ranked number one. Sadly, I am impotent when it comes to spreading the good news because computer enrollments at SCC are not reflective of this reporting. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Software Engineer Rated Best Job in America}

EDU::College Degrees Don't Come with Guarantees
It came up during class and I had to respond with the following: College degrees don't come with guarantees. Maybe they should given the cost of getting a degree. {GDT::Speaks:: Degrees Do Not Come with Guarantees}

TempeHiker::Blue and White 'A'
It was suppose to be a quick visit to my P.O. Box, but the 'A' on Hayden Butte caught my attention forcing me to morph into TempeHiker. {TempeHiker::Tempe:: The 'A' on Hayden Butte Painted Blue and White}

[15 April 2006 (three weeks of lecture before final exams; 62° at 6:10am) top]

Week Ending 08 April 2006

Computing::Healthy Geek -- Oxymorons?
A Slashdot posting contained a hyperlink to a posting by somebody who wrote about the geek lifestyle and how it effects their health. I felt the posting worthy of comment. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Health Problems Related to the Geek Lifestyle}

Biotech::Investing in Biotech is Speculative Investing
Tempe-based Orthologic has had a terrible month and its stock has fallen more than 50 percent. It would be a negative for the Valley of the Sun's bioindustry formation if Orthologic fails to recover. {GDT::BAB:: Orthologic Shareholders Feel the Pain}

TempeHiker::Graffiti in Tempe and Tri-City Mall in Mesa
I have been seeing more and more graffiti in Tempe. The graffiti in my neighborhood is especially bad and that prompted us to do a short graffiti story. {TempeHiker::Tempe:: Tempe is Suffering From a Graffiti Problem}

The roses are SCC are looking good so TempeHiker visited in the rose garden at MCC. In addition, I had read that the last standing building of the old Tri-City Mall was scheduled for destruction so TempeHiker got a picture of it along with some old motel signs on Mesa's Main Street. { TempeHiker::Mesa:: Rose Garden at MCC; Tri-City Mall; Old Motel Signs}

[08 April 2006 (spring has sprung and summer's approaching; 57° at 5:42am) top]

Week Ending 01 April 2006

Computing::Final Four Prediction
Based upon an crude examination of the Computer Science departments at this year's NCAA Final Four schools, UCLA is going to be the champion. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Predicting the 2006 College Basketball Final Four Winner}

Computing::Google News
Google Inc. announced they will be selling 5.3 million shares in a public offering raising over $2 billion. In addition, co-founders Brin and Page along with CEO Schmidt will continue work for a $1 per year.

Computing::SC06 Coming This Fall
I have decided to attend SC06 during November. This year the supercomputing conference is being held in Tampa, Florida. The SC06 pamphlet contained an Einstein quote that made it into the GDT::Quotes collection.

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination. Powerful Beyond Imagination

EDU::Tuition Increased at Maricopa Community Colleges
It's official: The Maricopa Community Colleges voted to increase 2006-07 tuition rates by 8.33%. The registration fee is increasing 200%. At the same time, they approved the construction of a new baseball field at SCC. {GDT::Speaks:: Tuitions Go Up and One School Gets a New Baseball Field}

[01 April 2006 (Tempe is hosting two festivals this weekend; 63° at 5:30am) top]

Week Ending 25 March 2006

Computing::IT Still a Good Career Choice posted an article that did a good job explaining that IT is still a good career choice. Many people have realized their American dreams thanks to computing and that will remain true as we continue into the 21st century. I created a Computing Bit about the Computerworld article. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Is IT Still a Good Career Path?}

Math::ACM Ubiquity Article on Learning Math
The computational sciences are growing in importance (thanks in large part to high-performance computing). Computational science involves lots and lots of math. Even if we don't aspire to doing computational science, knowing some math can make everyday life a bit easier. A recent ACM Ubiquity article was written that listed numerous reasons why high-school students should take as much math as they can. I created a Basic Arithmetic Bit about the ACM article. {GDT::BAB:: Why You Should Choose Math In High School}

RoadHacker::Spring Break 2006
RoadHacker did a 2-day, 594 mile, roadtrip to northeast Arizona. The roadtrip included visits to Payson, Flagstaff, Lowell Observatory, Riordan Mansion, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Winslow, Holbrook, Petrified Forest National Park, a drive on AZ Hwy-61, Salt River Canyon, Miami and Superior. {RoadHacker::Arizona:: Northeast Arizona}

[25 March 2006 (it might hit ninety degrees today; at 5:30am) top]

Week Ending 18 March 2006

Math::Pi Day, 2006
GDT had an interesting Pi Day this year. The original plan was to fly to L.A. and have pie at the House of Pies, but GDT booked the flight for the wrong day (15th instead of the 14th). GDT came up with an alternative plan in the form of a 2-day roadtrip to the 314 mileposts along I-40 in northeastern Arizona, but weather caused the roadtrip to be delayed a couple of days. Instead, we made an accidental Pi street signs discovery while driving to La Fonda's for lunch. {GDT::BAB:: Pi Day, 2006}

RoadHacker::McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Maricopa County has a great collection of regional parks. RoadHacker has lived in the Valley of the Sun since May of 1985, but only now did he get around to visiting McDowell Mountain Regional Park located about eight miles north of Fountain Hills. {RoadHacker::Arizona:: McDowell Mountain Regional Park}

TempeHiker::A Couple Hours in Tempe
Last Saturday it rained all day ending a record streak of a 143 days without rain. Rain is expected this Saturday and we are hoping it doesn't rain on the Great Arizona Beer Festival being held this year in Tempe.

[18 March 2006 (today's the Great Arizona Beer Festival; 57° at 6:49am) top]

Week Ending 11 March 2006

Computing::Google Coming To ASU and Tempe
Google Inc. announced it will be moving into a building located at ASU for at least the next three years. During that time, Google will probably decide on a permanent location. I suspect Scottsdale's SkySong is attractive to them especially if transportation systems are designed to aid travel between SkySong, ASU, Sky Harbor and the Scottsdale Airpark.

Math::Two BAB Collections Created
Two BAB collections were created this week: BARS::Basic Arithmetic Road Signs and BASP::Basic Arithmetic Stock Portfolios

TempeHiker::Scottsdale::Looked Like Rain at SCC
It looked like it was going to rain at SCC while I was at my office on Wednesday, 8 March 2006. It didn't. {TempeHiker::Scottsdale:: Looked Like Rain at SCC}

[11 March 2006 (it's raining and will probably rain all day; 45° at 9:20am) top]

Week Ending 04 March 2006

Computing::Google Thinking Big
Google announced that they will be using 2006 to put in place "systems" that will support them being a much bigger company. {GDT::BAB:: Google Wants To Do $100 Billion In Revenue}

Speaking of Google, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that Google will be using temporary office space in Tempe and that their final Valley of the Sun home will be either Tempe of southern Scottsdale. The Journal says Google wants to be close to ASU and Sky Harbor and these are no surprises.

Biotech::George Poste is a Biotech Guru
Kudos to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University for being named "2006 Laboratory of the Year by R&D Magazine. According to the press release, "the award recognizes innovative laboratory design that creates a superior working environment and supports research excellence. The annual competition includes industrial, government and academic laboratories across the U.S. and abroad." The Biodesign Institute at ASU is under the direction of Dr. George Poste who was R&D Magazine's Scientist of the Year in 2005. { Biodesign Institute At ASU Named Lab of the Year in International Competition}

EDU::Maricopa Community Colleges In the News
Arizona politicians are busy doing stuff that will directly affect the Maricopa Community Colleges; however, nothing has been "said" about tuition rates. It appears as though the Maricopa Community Colleges will not become four-year institutions and I think this is fine. There has been nothing "said" about making changes where they are needed most: district-level administration.

[04 March 2006 (137 days without rain; 54° at 5:40am) top]

Week Ending 25 February 2006

Computing::Arizona's Senators Bash U.S. Computer Companies
Arizona senators John McCain and Jon Kyl called Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Cisco System the "gang of four" for how they have been doing business with China. {GDT::Computing::Bit:: Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl Opine About Censoring Cyberspace}

Biotech::Arizona Considering Funding Bioscience
The state of Arizona is establishing the Arizona 21st Century Competition Initiative Funding seeding it with $150 million for bioscience and biotechnology.

Speaking of the future... the Arizona Republic reported on some survey that indicated that 57% of parents feel their kids learn enough math and science in K-12. {GDT::Speaks:: Most Parents Happy With Math and Science Education}

EDU::All Quiet On the Tuition Front
Although it seems nobody cares about the increasing cost of higher education, that doesn't stop me from taking a stand against rising tuition rates. {GDT::Speaks:: The 2006 Tuition Rate Story Continues}

RoadHacker/TempeHiker::Buckeye, Gila Bend, Tempe, Phoenix
The following are slideshows that were created over the span of the last couple of weeks.

[25 February 2006 (130 days without rain; 55° at 9:22am) top]

Week Ending 18 February 2006

EDU::MCCCD Governing Board Stays Silent
I have sent email messages to Jerry Walker and Scott Crowley. Walker's message was sent more than a week ago and I have received no reply. I sent Crowley's email message on Thursday; therefore, a bit more time ie needed before jumping to any conclusion. My email message asked three questions: 1) Has the IT operations of the MCCCD considered using an Opsware-like system to help automate themselves? (2) What is the MCCCD's policy on using FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software)? (3) Given enrollments are down, why are 50 new faculty being hired?

EDU::Why No Press On Tuition Rates?
To date, the Arizona Republic has not reported on how the MCCCD wants to raise 2006-07 tuition rates by 8.5%. In addition, the Republic has not reported on the 200% increase the MCCCD wants to apply to registration fees.

EDU::Ad Hoc Survey Implies TGen Illiteracy
I asked about 20 SCC students if they had ever heard of TGen. Zero hands went up. I followed that up by asking if they had ever heard of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and again zero hands went up. TGen came to the Valley of the Sun during the middle of 2002 and I don't know why so many high-school graduates have never heard of them.

[18 February 2006 (123 days without rain; 46° at 5:38am) top]

Week Ending 11 February 2006

EduPolitics::A Letter To Mr. Walker
Jerry Walker is Governing Board member of the Maricopa Community Colleges and I wrote him a letter concerning the MCCCD's IT operations and tuition rates. {GDT::Speaks:: A Letter To Mr. Walker}

CityPolitics::A Letter To Mrs. Ellis
Shana Ellis is running for Tempe City council and I wrote her a letter to see how she feels about Tempe's "high-tech, biotech, nanotech" future. {GDT::Speaks:: A Ltter To Mrs. Ellis}

Science::Maybe Adulthood At 27 Isn't a Joke
Dartmouth College researchers, along with many others, are trying to learn about the "period of human development between adolescence and adulthood." Studies indicate one area of brain development is the "integration of emotion and cognition." One Dartmouth researcher said, "The brain of an 18-year-old college freshman is still far from resembling the brain of someone in their mid-twenties. When do we reach adulthood? It might be much later than we traditionally think." { Brain changes significantly after age 18}

TempeHiker::Tempe Outings and a New Valley of the Sun Homepage
TempeHiker had to visit the Maple Ash neighborhood a couple of days to walk a dog (Blaze). In addition, I have created a Valley of the Sun homepage for TempeHiker's Valley of the Sun collections.

[11 February 2006 (116 days without rain with no rain in sight; 54° at 6:06am) top]

Week Ending 04 February 2006

Computing::The EFF Sues AT&T
The EFF is suing my former employer.

	"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed suit 
	 against AT&T for allegedly cooperating with the National 
	 Security Agency (NSA) in eavesdropping on individuals 
	 without a warrant." 

The EFF claims AT&T has granted the NSA (National Security Agency) access to data that has passed through its communication networks. In addition, the EFF believes AT&T has granted access to its "over 300 terabyte 'Daytona' database of caller information -one of the largest databases in the world." { EFF Sues AT&T to Stop Illegal Surveillance}

EDU::Maricopa Community College Tuition Rates
Early indications are the Maricopa Community Colleges will be raising tuition rates $5 per credit hour. This works out to an 8.3% increase. For 2005, the year of killer hurricanes and high oil prices, the inflation rate was 3.4%.

[04 February 2006 (109 days without rain and another dry week ahead?; 50° at 6:56am) top]

Week Ending 28 January 2006

EDU::This Literay, That Literacy, What Literacy?
A CNN "Education" report starts as follows.

   "More than half of students at four-year colleges 
    -- and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges -- 
    lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks 
    such as understanding credit card offers."

I believe it.

   "The results cut across three types of literacy: 
    analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding 
    documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks 
    or restaurant tips."

No surprises here.

   "The students did the worst on matters involving math.
    Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees 
    had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the 
    students could not estimate if their car had enough 
    gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent 
    of two-year students had only basic math skills."

This is true. Study: College students lack literacy for complex tasks

SCC::I'd Like To Ask (But Won't)
Enrollments at SCC fell this semester and enrollments overall have been flat for the last couple of semesters. Earlier this week we received a message on the intranet that started with "Please join me in welcoming to Scottsdale Community College our new Associate Dean of Student Services." I'd like to ask if this "new Dean" replaces an existing Dean or is it yet another Dean? If it is a new Dean, then I get confused because it looks like less students require more Deans.

TempeHiker::Queen Creek and Scottsdale
TempeHiker::Scottsdale:: SkySong Groundbreaking Ceremony [opens new window]
TempeHiker::QueenCreek:: Queen Creek, ASU Polytechnic, Williams Gateway [opens new window]

[28 January 2006 (we've gone 102 days without rain; 43° at 6:25am) top]

Week Ending 24 January 2006

Robotics::Robotic Hand Gives Sign Language
Every event at SCC has at least two people to speak with their hands. Two are needed because the translator needs to rest periodically.

   "A microchip in the robot recognizes the 50-character 
    hiragana syllabary and about 10 simple phrases such 
    as 'ohayo' (good morning) and sends the information 
    to a central computer, which sends commands to 18 
    micromotors in the joints of the robotic hand, 
    translating the sound it hears into sign language."

Robotic hands won't need rest periods. { Robotic hand translates speech into sign language }

Computing::The DreamTeam Works Like a Dream
GDT displayed the DreamTeam and started giving nutshell descriptions about some of the DreamTeam members. The first name on the alphabetized DreamTeam roster is Marc Andreessen followed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf (I skipped Steve Bourne). Students were given more than a brief introduction to Doug Engelbart. The GDT:: DreamTeam proved itself to be a valuable learning tool.

RoadHacker/TempeHiker::Numerous Works-In-Progress
RoadHacker is working on pictures taken while on a four day visit to his parents in Joliet, Illinois. TempeHiker visited Queen Creek and ASU Polytechnic; he attended the Sky Song ground breaking in Scottsdale; and he did some Mill Avenue in Tempe.

[21 January 2006 (spring 2006 is in progress; 39° at 6:28am) top]

Week Ending 14 January 2006

Computing::Google's Stock Market Value Exceeds IBM's
As of the market close on 6 January 2006, the stock market value of Google was greater than the stock market value of IBM. With GOOG priced at $456.66 per share, Google had a market value of $137.62B. IBM's market value was $134.18B with IBM priced at $84.95. The market value of Microsoft, with MSFT at $26.91, was $284.45B.

Computing::RFID For Humans
RFID deployment is starting to happen at a rapid pace. Here a chip, there a chip, everywhere a chip will be tomorrow's adage. { Entrepreneur Installs RFID Chips in Both Hands }

RoadHacker::Sunset Point On I-17
RoadHacker::Arizona:: Sunset Point via Carefree and Cave Creek

TempeHiker::Shaw Butte From Mountain View Park
TempeHiker::Phoenix:: Shaw Butte

[12 January 2006 (early posting because I'm going to Joliet; 45° at 4:46am) top]

Week Ending 07 January 2006

Computing::Bjarne Stroustrup Speaks About C++
C++ continues to be a popular programming language. Its popularity is largely due to the following: C++ is a better C that supports data abstraction, object-oriented programming, and generic programming. { A Brief Look at C++0x }

In a nutshell, energy (E) equals mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c2). Scientists have discovered that "E differs from mc2 by at most 0.0000004. { Einstein Was Right (Again): NIST And MIT Confirm That E=mc2 }

EDU::Enrollments Remain Low
Enrollments remain low as Spring 2006 begins. Now that I'm teaching some math, math enrollments are down. My two CSC classes have a total enrollment of 12 (8 and 4), while my three MAT classes total 27 (3, 12, 12). At this point and time, two of my classes will end up being cancelled.

[07 January 2006 (one week before classes start; 54° at 5:28am) top]

Week Ending 01 January 2006

GDT::Happy New Year!
Year 2006 has started and this is the first posting to Spring 2006 MOTD. The Fall 2005 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

As of 01 January 2006, the MOTD (Message Of The Day) has been a work-in-progress for eight years (i.e. this is the start of year nine). The first MOTD posting was during the fall of 1997.

The MOTD is updated on a weekly basis (typically Saturdays) and each MOTD posting usually consists of three items.

[01 January 2006 (another year has begun; 50° at 8:03am) top]

Author: Gerald D. Thurman []
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:46 MST

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