MOTD::Archive::Spring 2007 (12 May 2007)

Fall 2006 MOTD

Week Ending 12 May 2007

RoadHacker::On The Road Again
RoadHacker is beginning the summer of 2007 by taking a 5-day fly/drive roadtrip that includes driving in the states of Colorado (Last Chance, Campo, US Hwy-50), Nebraska (Scotts Bluff, Carhenge, NE Hwy-2, NE Hwy-61, Sand Hills, Arthur), Kansas (US Hwy-83, Garden City, Liberal), Oklahoma (panhandle), and the Texas (Texhoma) border.

RoadHacker:: From Last Chance to Arthur to Campo

GDT::Final MOTD Posting for Spring 2007
This is the final MOTD posting for the Spring 2007 session. The Summer 2007 MOTD, version 30, will be instantiated on 19 May 2007. Someday I will go through the MOTD archive and fix its massive linkrot. The MOTD does not have a fixed birthdate. I consider the MOTD's birthdate to be 13 December 1997, which was the date version of the MOTD was archived. {GDT:: MOTD Archive}

[12 May 2007 (summer break 2007 has started; 78° at 5:52am) top]


Week Ending 05 May 2007

Computing::Why No MCCCD CS Students?
The 13 April 2007 edition of the Phoenix Business Journal published a list of "Hot Jobs" (i.e. the most in-demand college degrees). The list started with accounting number one and business administration number two; however, computer science was third, information sciences and systems was sixth and computer engineering was eighth. In other words, three of the top 10 most in-demand degrees were computer related. Note: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and civil engineering were fourth, fifth and ninth, respectively.

Computing::Defining Computational Thinking
It was nice to hear the Computer Science faculty from the University of Arizona mention "computational thinking" at the Spring 2007 ATF meeting. I was able to share with them that I had just (yesterday) given a talk about the next era of computing in which I ended by saying something about "computational thinking."

I am going to investigate if the Unix philosophy can be used as an introduction to "computational thinking." In order to get started, I must first come up with an "official" definition for "computational thinking."

CS.Rutgers.edu:: Computational Thinking [fall 2006]

TempeHiker::P-20 Meeting Held in Downtown Phoenix
TempeHiker:: Downtown Phoenix on 27 April 2007 [opens new window]

[04 May 2007 (off to Tucson for one night; 68° at 6:59am) top]


Week Ending 28 April 2007

Computing/Nano::Nanoinformatics?
I've been promoting 21st century Informatics. The other day I was reading something about a new report titled "NanoFrontiers: Visions for the Future of Nanotechnology" that has been published. The report makes mention of nanoinformatics. In a nano-nutshell, nanoinformatics is a "computational tool that has emerged to meet the needs of the nano-scale research labs that will enable new advances and new applications in nanotechnology."

NSTI is the Nano Science and Technology Institute...

NSTI.org:: Emerging Computational Tools in Nano-scale Research

Computing::Grok Was a Puzzle Word
The crossword puzzle in the newspaper had the clue empathize having the answer grok. Our dictionary did not have an entry for grok so it was the Internet to the rescue. I knew about grok only because of Groklaw.net, which is covering SCO's legal battles over Unix IP in Linux. The following was copied from the Wikipedia.

   "The entry existed in the very earliest forms of the Jargon File, 
    dating from the early 1980s. A typical tech usage from the Linux 
    Bible, 2005 characterizes the Unix software development philosophy 
    as 'one that can make your life lot simpler once you grok the idea'."

The Unix Philosophy might be more applicable today than it has ever been.

Foo::It's Not Nice To Make Fun of Names, But...
The headline could have read: Foo replaces Sun.

   "HP has named Foo Piau Phang managing director for China, 
    replacing Sun Cheng-Yaw who is retiring May 31 for personal 
    reasons.  In a statement dated Friday, HP said Sun, 51, will 
    spend more time studying and with family after his retirement.
    Foo will join HP's China operations on April 16.

GDT's "real" homepage is at http://AzFoo.net

[28 April 2007 (summer's approaching; note temperature&time... 72° at 6:05am) top]


Week Ending 21 April 2007

Computing::Colleges Becoming POT Advocates
It appears as though university leaders are going to increase their POT (Plain-Old-Text) usage. In the case of emergencies when students need to be contacted sooner rather than later-- POT-based SMS appears to be the best tool.

   "Mainly, what we think is that colleges should be using text 
    messaging systems." -- program director for Security on Campus, 
    a nonprofit organization that works with the Department of 
    Justice to help fight crime on campus.

   "With a text messaging system, it's the most reliable way to 
    communicate with students these days. It's the fastest way."

Email is not effective because students aren't always checking their email in-box; however, I suspect most students can help but take a peek immediately upon receipt of POT.

Some schools might use a product called Catchwind. Catchwind only provides for sending SMS messages for cell phones. Catchwind says their system can deliver "around 10 to 15 thousand every couple of minutes."

Computing::The Internet is a Great Tool for Criminals
eWeek.com had a posting titled "Top 10 Internet Crimes." eWeek.com mentioned the Internet Crime Complaint Center located on the web at IC3.gov. The IC3 is a "partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center at NW3C.org and FBI.gov."

A few years ago I modernized the following song lyric by Don Henley... A man with a briefcase can steal more money than a man with a gun ...into... a person with a high-speed Internet connection can steal more money than a person with a briefcase.

RoadHacker::Spring 2007 ATF Meeting in Flagstaff
GDT attended the Spring 2007 ATF (Articulation Task Force) meeting hosted by CIS at NAU. We drove up to Flagstaff on Thursday for the Friday AM meeting and spent Friday night in Winslow. The roadtrip included a first-time stay at the Hotel Weatherford and a first-time visit to the Flagstaff Arboretum. The night in Winslow as spent at the La Posada Hotel.

RoadHacker:: Spring 2007 ATF in Flagstaff and Winslow [opens new window]

[21 April 2007 (terror at Virginia Tech; 51° at 6:15am) top]


Week Ending 14 April 2007

Computing::Upcoming Discovery Tour at ASU
I am looking forward to ASU's last Discovery Tour for the Spring 2007 semester. How do we define inter-disciplinary?

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan (Panch), Director of the new School of Computing and Informatics, will "describe his new school and how the new school will pursue informatics education and research in partnership with the Arts, Media and Engineering program, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, the School of Life Sciences, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Psychology, the Biodesign Institute, the Global Institute for Sustainability, W.P. Carey School of Business, the College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, the School of Earth and Space Exploration, the Center for Law, Science and Technology and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences."

The "tour" is at 4:00pm on Tuesday, 8 May 2007, at the ASU Brickyard located on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona.

SCI.ASU.edu:: School of Computing and Informatics

The Discovery Tour will end just in time to walk over for May's Tempe Techie Tuesday.

Computing::ORNL Heading Toward Peta-Scale Computing
Cray today announced that the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has completed a more than doubling of the capacity of its Cray supercomputer. The ORNL system was operating at 54 teraflops, but now it has performance capacity of 119 teraflops. Cray says, "The upgrade is an important milestone in ORNL's previously announced plan to provide its users with a petaflops-speed supercomputer in 2008."

   "Scientists and industry partners such as Boeing, Corning, 
    DreamWorks Animation and General Atomics will be able to 
    employ the enhanced Cray supercomputer configuration to 
    conduct high-impact projects as part of the Department 
    of Energy's INCITE program. In addition, ORNL staff and 
    guest researchers will use the Cray supercomputer to advance 
    the frontiers of neutron science, biological systems, energy 
    production and advanced materials."

Cray.com:: ORNL More Than Doubles Performance of Cray Supercomputer to 119 Teraflops

MCCCD::Mesa Community College Needs a 21st Century Leader
The MCCCD is looking for a new President at Mesa Community College. An AzCentral.com blogger posted an item about the "great" interim leadership currently at Mesa Community. Their posting prompted me (Gerald8100) to post a comment.

   Comment from: Gerald8100 04/13/07 @ 12:27

   I hope MCC brings in a president who has a zero luddite factor. 
   The Maricopa Community Colleges are in dire need of some 21st 
   century leaders and given MCC is the largest of the community 
   colleges, it makes sense for them to hire somebody who understands 
   our future is biotech, nanotech, and robotics.

The AzCentral.com blogger wrote.

	"No surprise after 40 years in education, Giles coming to us 
	 as chancellor emeritus at Metropolitan Community College, 
	 Kansas City, Missouri - first as vice chancellor education 
	 services, then executive vice chancellor."

40 years of experience is nice, but does he use a computer?

[14 April 2007 (Don Imus generated some interesting news; 58° at 6:25am) top]


Week Ending 07 April 2007

Computing::Car Technology Versus Computer Technology
The book "Math Through the Ages" contains the following quote from "The Analytical Engine" written in 1990 by R. Decker and S. Hirshfield.

   "There has never been a technology in the history of the 
    world that has progressed as fast as computer technology... 
    If automotive technology had progressed as fast as computer 
    technology between 1960 and today, the car of today would 
    have an engine less than a one tenth of an inch across; the 
    car would get 120,000 miles to a gallon of gas, have a top 
    speed of 240,000 miles per hour and it cost $4."

The "today" in the previous quote was in 1990.

Computing::Next Era of Computing
I gave a talk at about computing in the 21st century as part of SCC's Kelly Lecture Series, but only ten people came and only three of them were students. I posted the outline to the talk to my AzGrid.net website. {AzGrid:: The Next Era of Computing}

EDU::New Math Department Head at SCC
The Math Department at SCC has a new head and it will be interesting to see what happens to CSC. ASU is doing a lot with respect to changing their CS program and I'm not convinced SCC will be participating. Time will tell.

[Extra] Speaking of the MCCCD... faculty are going bonkers because we are getting a three percent raise and no step movement on the salary ladder. It is interesting because for the most part MCCCD are a mute group, but they do speak up when it is their wallet that is getting hit. It is also interesting to see how the faculty think they are entitled to raises and step movements. One last item that I need to get on record as saying: MCCCD faculty must not read the local papers, nor do they pay much attention to what is going on beyond the confines of their little departments.

[08 April 2007 (week #12 is already upon us; 66° at 6:02am) top]


Week Ending 31 March 2007

Computing::Where's Jim Gray?
GDT::DreamTeam member Jim Gray is still lost at sea, but he remains on the DreamTeam (i.e. he has not become the first GDT::DreamTeam member to be tranferred to the GDT::DeadTeam). Gray has been missing since 26 January 2007 (i.e. a few days more than two full months). Information Week has an excellent artile about the search for Dr. Jim Gray that ended with a quote by Sendmail creator Eric Allman: "Gray was an expert at stripping away mystery by making things simple. It's an irony to me that he should end in a mystery."

InformationWeek.com:: The Search For Microsoft Researcher Jim Gray

Computing::CSC100 at SCC During Fall 2007
The following was created for the Advisement Center at Scottsdale Community College (SCC).

CSC100     3-credits      Tuesday/Thursday       1:30-2:45 
"Introduction to Computer Science for Non-Computer Majors"

CSC100 is an introductory programming course that is used to introduce Computer Science (CS) to non-CS majors. The course satisfies the Computer and Statistics requirement for many degrees and certificates available from the MCCCD.

CSC100 introduces programming concepts to students using the C++ programming language; however, C++ is used mostly as a better "C". The software methodologies of "object-oriented" and "generic" are covered, but "structured" programs are written.

CSC100 should be taken by students interested in math, science, engineering and healthcare. At this point and time, it should not be taken by CS majors. Beyond the Fall 2007 semester, CSC100 will count as a CS1 course at ASU (Tempe campus at a minimum), UofA and NAU.

RoadHacker::Albuquerque, New Mexico
RoadHacker spent three-days over Spring Break 2007 roadtripping in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Albuquerque visit was centered around Pi Day 2007. For example, on Pi Day, RoadHacker had a piece of pie at the Route 66 Diner.

RoadHacker:: Spring Break 2007 -- Albuquerque, New Mexico [opens new window]

[31 March 2007 (enjoy our cool days while they last; 55° at 7:22am) top]


Week Ending 24 March 2007

Nanotech::Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster at SCC
On 23 March 2007, SCC hosted the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster's 2nd Annual Symposium. The day-long event went off few glitches. I will be writing more about the event when time permits, but on Friday, 23 March 2007, the collective IQ on the SCC campus experienced hyper-growth. Note: An Artie Artichoke doll went home with TexasNano.org:: Dr. Wade Adams.

AzCentral.com:: Nanotech meeting will lure experts to SCC

Computing::New DeadTeam Member
FORTRAN creator John Backus died on 17 March 2007. Backus won the 1977 ACM Turing Award "for profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages." The New York Times printed an old quote from Unix creator Ken Thompson: "95 percent of the people who programmed in the early years would never have done it without FORTRAN. It was a massive step."

NYTimes.com:: John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies

[24 March 2007 (it was a stormy Thursday; 57° at 5:33am) top]


Week Ending 17 March 2007

Computing::New DreamTeam Members
Jeannette Wing, head of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, has been added to the GDT::DreamTeam. Wing is the third woman to make the team. Dr. Wing believes strongly in the power of "computational thinking" and is an advocate of CS education.

Opsware, whose chairman is DreamTeam member Marc Andreesseen, announced that CollabNet joined its Technology Alliance Partner program. CollabNet provides "on-demand collaborative software development solutions." Brian Behlendorf is co-founder and CTO of CollabNet. DreamTeam member Tim O'Reilly is on CollabNet's board of directors. It should have happened a long time ago, but I have finally added Brian Behlendorf to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Computing::New Programming Languages for Supercomputers
A new collection of programming languages are being developed to help programmers program supercomputers. Sun Microsystems has Fortress, Cray has Chapel and IBM is working on X10.

John Mellor-Crummey, a computer science professor at Rice University, justified the need for new programming languages by saying: "Programming of parallel systems is much too hard today."

IBM's X10 is a "parallel, distributed, object-oriented language developed as an extension of Java."

ComputerWorld.com:: Languages for Supercomputing Get 'Suped' Up

Computing::Wiki Added to the Oxford English Dictionary
"Wiki" (a noun) has been added to the online Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The OED says the following about the word wiki.

   "This joins a small but distinguished group of words 
    which are directly or ultimately borrowings into English 
    from Hawaiian.  It has been suggested that in some ways 
    the OED itself resembles a wiki: its long tradition of 
    working on collaborative principles means it has welcomed 
    the contribution of information and quotation evidence 
    from the public for over 150 years."

Interestingly, the OED.com is a subscription service.

[17 March 2007 (Spring Break 2007 is over; 71° at 5:55am) top]


Week Ending 10 March 2007

Computing::Numerous DreamTeam Members Considered i-Technology Heroes
Web2.0 Journal had an article titled "Who Are The All-Time Heroes of i-Technology?" It's a long article, but many of those listed are also GDT::DreamTeam members.

   Tim Berners-Lee, James Gosling, Bill Joy, Mitch Kapor,
   Brian Kernighan, Tim O'Reilly, Rob Pike, Dennis Ritchie,
   Richard Stallman, Bjarne Stroustrup and Ken Thompson.

There were other names mentioned, but I'll save those for a future posting.

Rob Pike, who is currently a commander at Google, was quoted saying the following.

   "The Web is too large to fit on a single machine so it's 
    no surprise that searching the Web requires the coordination 
    of many machines, too. A single Google query may touch over 
    a thousand machines before the results are returned to the 
    user, all in a fraction of a second."

Web2Journal.com:: Who Are The All-Time Heroes of i-Technology?

Technology::21st Century Girl Scouts
I always hope the "technology" part of the phrase "science, engineering, math and technology" includes lots of computing.

   "A new Girl Scouts program is helping introduce girls to 
    technology in an all-female environment, which has been 
    shown to be more effective in interesting young women in 
    the field. Known as The EDGE, the program exposes girl 
    scouts to science, engineering, math, and technology. 

   "The girl scouts have also held a Lego robotics camp and 
    an architecture camp."

DailyTexanOnline.com:: Not your mother's Girl Scouts

TempeHiker::ASU Outings
TempeHiker went to a meeting at the ASU-West Campus in Phoenix and he revisited the Grow Where You're Planted exhibit located at the ASU's Gammage Auditorium and Birchett Park in Tempe.

[10 March 2007 (it's Spring Break and it might hit 90 today; 59° at 6:25am) top]


Week Ending 03 March 2007

Computing::Dreaming In Code
I don't dream in code, but I have started reading the book Dreaming in Code. I've read the first thirty pages and the book, which starts with chapter zero, is going to be an enjoyable read.

MCCCD::No Upcoming Tuition Rate Increase?
It appears as though the MCCCD will leave tuition rates at $65 per credit hour for the 2007-08 academic year. The MCCCD public relations will claim they are holding tuition rates steady in order to "promote access to affordable education to Maricopa's community and students." If true, then how about a tuition rate decrease? The Tuition rate for the 2001-02 academic year was $43. The current tuition rate of $65 is 51.16% higher than $43. According to an inflation calculator, what cost $43 in 2001 would cost $48.69 in 2006, an increase of 13.23%.

SCC::Artie Becomes Topic of Conversation on SCC's Intranet
I went to the Parada del Sol parade to get this new Artie picture. Artie Artichoke made some new cowboy friends at the parade, but they almost shot him.

RoadHacker and TempeHiker Outings
RoadHacker did a short roadtrip to Silly Mountain and the Base of the Superstitions. TempeHiker got pictures of the VNB "gold dome" and Timberwolf Pub in Tempe. In addition, he got pictures from the 6th floor of ASU's Brickyard and he found some artwork and reflections on the ASU campus. And, as indicated earlier, TempeHiker went to the Parada del Sol Parade in Scottsdale.

[03 March 2007 (Spring Break is a week away; 50° at 6:02am) top]


Week Ending 24 February 2007

SCC::Next Week is an Important Week for SCC
SCC is up for re-accreditation next week and the school has been prepping faculty for the process. The following was received in an email message.

   "In case you've been ignoring all the buzz around campus, 
    and my emails, here's one last reminder: ..."

If there has been a "buzz around campus," then I've been oblivious to it.

SCCCampusNews.com:: SCC prepares for reaccreditation process

SCC::Artie Voting Was Not Secure
SCC, via an email message, announced that the new Artie Artichoke was going to make his first public appearance. The time-stamp on the email message was Fri, 23 Feb 2007 23:45:49 -0700. In other words, notification about this major event was received less than 24 hours from the event's start time.

   "On Saturday, February 24, 2007, students in the Imagemakers 
    theatre group will debut the new mascot as part of the 54th 
    annual Parada Del Sol Parade, which begins at 10:00am, and 
    runs through downtown Scottsdale."
   "It could be said that it's traditional for students to be 
    marching with Artie, for the mascot was born out of a student 
    protest following a philosophical difference with administration 
    over the funding of programs in the early 1970's at SCC."

In an attempt to refresh my memory about the "history of Artie," I went to GDT's Artie webpage and clicked on the hyperlink to http://www.scottsdalecc.edu/info/why.html. Sadly the hyperlink suffers from linkrot. I took the ell off of why.html, but that didn't work either. I visited ScottsdaleCC.edu and used its search engine to find the file, but my search attempts failed. Where is this webpage?

The whole Artie thing has me foo'd off, but the following paragraph made me yell "what the FOO?"

   "The updated 'Artie' was strongly endorsed as the character which 
    best embodies the collegial spirit and toughness as found in the 
    original 'Artie' mascot when created by students in 1972! Since 
    then, Artie has gone through several changes, but this time, students, 
    faculty, alumni and the community were all given the opportunity to 
    voice their opinion through an anonymous and secure online voting 
    process overseen by an independent monitor."

First, clicking a radio button on a webpage is not a "voice" -- it's a vote. Second, and more importantly, the voting was done saying opinions could be voiced through an "anonymous and secure online voting process overseen by an indepedent monitor." It was anonymous, but it was not secure.

At the time of this MOTD posting, SCC's homepage had a box that said: "Artie's new look unveiled at Parada del Sol!" There was a hyperlink to "learn more," but clicking the link resulted in the display of the "Welcome to Scottsdale Community College's Re-Accreditation Site" webpage. Oops.

[Update] I drove to Oak Street in Scottsdale prior to the parade to get a picture of the new Artie. I was given an opportunity to walk in the parade giving out candy to kids and it was great fun. I think every piece of candy I handed out (and it had to be handed because no throwing was allowed) was received with a Thank You. It was fun to "run" into a couple former students from my days as a computer instructor.

[24 February 2007 (Artie Artichoke is being abused; 45° at 7:08am) top]


Week Ending 17 February 2007

Computing::New DeadTeam Member
Ken Kennedy, the founder of Rice University's computer science program and an ACM Fellow, died after a long bout with cancer. Kennedy founded Rice University's Department of Computer Science Department in 1984, its cross-disciplinary Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI) in 1987, its Center for Research on Parallel Computing in (CRPC) 1989, and its Center for Higher Performance Software Research (HiPerSoft) in 2000. Ken Kennedy has been to the GDT:: DeadTeam.

Computing::Metcalfe Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame
From Slashdot on 11 February 2007 we learned that Bob Metcalfe, a creator of Ethernet, was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.

   "Bob Metcalfe, along with David Boggs, created Ethernet technology 
    while the two were researchers Xerox PARC in 1973. Originally, the 
    technology transmitted data at 3Mbps over thick coaxial cable. Today 
    Ethernet travels as fast as 10Gbps, and runs over mostly twisted pair 
    copper and fiber optic cabling. Ethernet became an IEEE standard, known 
    as 802.3, in 1983. Metcalfe took his invention to the market in 1979 
    when he founded networking company 3Com."

Metcalfe's law: "The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system." Metcalfe's law has been disputed: "The value of a network with n members is not n squared, but rather n times the logarithm of n."

In 2003, Metcalfe received the National Medal of Technology and in 1996 he was awared an IEEE Medal of Honor.

RoadHacker and TempeHiker Outings
RoadHacker visited Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park and he drove the Apache Trail. TempeHiker visited the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in north Phoenix and the Tempe Town Lake under a full moon.

[17 February 2007 (spring break is a month away; 52° at 8:00am) top]


Week Ending 10 February 2007

Computing::New DeadTeam Member
Jean Ichbiah, the chief designer of the Ada programming language, died on 26 January 2007. Jean received a Certificate of Distinguished Service from the DoD (Department of Defense) for his Ada efforts. Bertrand Meyer wrote: "I learned with great sadness that Jean Ichbiah, who played such an important role in the history of European informatics, passed away on the 26th, from a brain tumor." {GDT:: DeadTeam}

Computing::Software Really is Hard
I am looking forward to reading the book Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg. The book is about the development of Mitch Kapor's "Chandler," an "open source effort to rethink the world of e-mail and scheduling." Rosenberg spent three years following the work of the Chandler developers and he tells their stories in "Dreaming in Code."

Salon.com:: Software is hard

Computing::Jim Gray Still Missing at Sea
James N. Gray, computing guru and GDT DreamTeam member, was reported lost at sea on 28 January 2007. As of 9 February 2007, I have been unable to find any updated news. An extensive search for Dr. Gray has been executed, but all efforts to find him have failed.

In 1998, Gray received the Turing Award "for seminal contributions to database and transaction processing research and technical leadership in system implementation." While searching the Internet for some updated information Gray, I came across an interview with him conducted by ACM Queue during June of 2003.

ACMQueue.org:: A Conversation with Jim Gray

[10 February 2007 (roadtripped on the Apache Trail yesterday; 55° at 5:57am) top]


Week Ending 03 February 2007

Computing::Tough DST Switch Coming Up
I have no doubts that the following is a "big deal."

   "At first blush it may seem like no big deal: clocks will 
    move ahead by an hour three weeks earlier than usual this 
    year. But for today's networked businesses, the simple change 
    could mean complex problems if IT shops aren't prepared, 
    industry experts say."

I didn't know we were changing when we switch to DST (daylight savings time).

   "For more than two decades, daylight-saving time has begun on 
    the first Sunday of April and reverted to standard time on the 
    last Sunday in October. But beginning this year, due to the Energy 
    Policy Act of 2005, the daylight-saving schedule will be extended 
    by a month, with the period beginning on the second Sunday in March 
    and ending on the first Sunday in November. Legislators backing the 
    change say it will save some 100,000 barrels of oil a day."

Again, I can see how this can be a problem for many computer systems.

NetworkWorld.com:: Daylight Saving changes: No Y2K, but there could be headaches

Computing::The FSF Not Happy With Novell
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is unhappy with Novell's partnership with Microsoft and they might use legal efforts to stop Novell from selling its Linux distribution. I suspect Microsoft is excited about this stuff happening because it shows a rift within the FLOSS world that they can exploit when trying to convince business users to choose Microsoft over FLOSS.

The FSF's action is potentially bad news for Novell. A stock market analyst Katherine Egbert who follows Novell is quoted saying: "Investors don't like uncertainty. This isn't good to the extent that it creates uncertainty around the technical road map."

Reuters.com:: Novell could be banned from selling Linux

MCCCD::We Are Not Arthur Anderson
The chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District sent out an email message instructing all employees to *not* shred or destroy any documents. The chancellor's email generated so many questions that a FAQ was created.

[03 February 2007 (stretch of sunny days coming up; 43° at 5:44am) top]


Week Ending 27 January 2007

Computing @ SCC::This is Weird--Have Students, No Teacher
I got an email message from the head of the CIS Department at SCC asking if I knew anybody who could teach an introductory programming course using Java. The email message was received a week prior to the start of the class. The class, which is part of a two-course sequence, had an enrollment of 18 students. I hope SCC doesn't have to cancel this class, but I also hope it can find an instructor that will do a great job and maybe get some of those 18 students to want to learn more about computing.

MCCCCD::Internationalizing Education
Tom Horne, the Superintendent of Arizona Schools, wants monies to start "international schools." This was announced at the same time Arizona politicians were investigating the international travels of MCCCD employees. I sent the following "Letter to the Editor" of the Arizona Republic.

   To: opinions@arizonarepublic.com
   Subject: International Schools

   International travels have gotten the Maricopa County
   Community College District (MCCCD) into trouble.  The 
   MCCCD international efforts are necessary because all
   21st century educational institutions must participate 
   globally in addition to locally.
   
   Today (Thursday, 25 January), the Arizona Republic
   reported that Horne wants the legislature to "fund
   international schools."  Horne wants students from
   these schools to be "well-traveled" and "knowledgeable 
   about world cultures." 
   
   It appears as though the MCCCD is working on becoming an 
   environment that would allow these K-12 "international 
   school" graduates to continue their learning.  Do we
   have an oxymoron?  Community college internationalization 
   bad; K-12 internationalization good.

[27 January 2007 (the semester is already flying by; 46° at 6:42am) top]


Week Ending 20 January 2007

CSC at SCC::I am Doing One Section of a 3-Credit CSC100
SCC is going to offer CSC100 during the Fall 2007 semester. Scheduling this course is critical and that decision needs to be made by the end of 22 January 2007.

Maricopa.edu:: CSC100 - Introduction to Computer Science for Non-Computer Majors

Technology::How About RFID?
AzCentral.com "Plugged In" blog has a blogger named Kymberly Levesque. Kymberly is a "Southeast Valley Republic editorial assistant." Most of the time I don't care what Kymberly has to say, but sometimes her "subject lines" entice me to click. This time her subject line read: "The unblinking eye of photo radar" and her posting was about Scottsdale's Loop 101 photo radar invading her privacy. Her posting prompted me to comment.

   Comment from: Gerald8100

   01/19/07 @ 11:56
   If cameras on a freeway bother you, 
   then I hope you are RFID literate...

   Are you confident all of your clothing, which includes 
   shoes and underwear, don't have any RFID tags in them?

   Photo radar is 20th century technology and I am happy 
   to see you taking a position. I hope you stay with it 
   because privacy in nanoworld is an issue that is rapidly 
   approaching.

RFIDs in human-beings is a potential growth industry.

Yahoo.BusinessWeek.com:: Animal Tags for People?

SCC::Wow... There Were No SSNs On Rosters
I got a printout of class rosters and for the first time ever all the SSNs were XXX-XX-XXXX. It will be interesting to see if I find any drop-slips this semester with SSNs on them.

[20 January 2007 (I've had enough winter weather; 43° at 7:10am) top]


Week Ending 13 January 2007

Technology::Top 10 Tech Towns
Wired Magazine said they used "algorithms snuck out of Google and NASA" to do "the math to find the nation's geek meccas." Here are some names: Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, L.A., Austin, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Pittsburgh, NYC, Boston, and Washington, DC. Wired described Pittsburgh as follows: "Come for the country's top-ranked computer science school; stay for the robotics startups that Carnegie Mellon alums are founding. If androids aren't your style, try for a gig at Google's new engineering office."

Wired.com:: 10 Top Tech Towns

Computing::Outsourcing Becoming Insourcing in 2007?
I don't read Robert X. Cringely, but I liked the following prediction he made for 2007.

   "Remember outsourcing and offshoring? That tide turns for a 
    bunch of reasons but mainly because a new class of CEOs will 
    say the old class of CEOs was filled with idiots."

Speaking of "outsourcing..." Companies like Opsware provide a form of outsourcing except the work is being outsourced to computer systems rather than human-beings in some other country.

Computing::Unix Growing at SCC?
Spring 2007 CIS enrollments look better than they have over the past few years. SCC is offering two Unix classes and both start the semester with 18 students. I don't teach CIS, but I'm happy to see there are going to be some computing students on the SCC campus.

[13 January 2007 (rain is gone, sunshine returns; 45° at 5:40am) top]


Week Ending 06 January 2007

Computing::Programmers At Fault For Bad Software?
A computer science instructor named Platt thinks our world is full of bad software; however, I take exception with the following.

   "The problem, says consultant David Platt, lies not with the user 
    but with the programmers, who just don't think like the people 
    who use their products."

It's easy to blame the programmer, but it is the employer's who are ultimately responsible. Microsoft has had great success producing "just good enough software;" therefore, many software companies follow Microsoft's lead.

I agree with Platt on the following: "Error messages represent software communication at its worst."

I also agree with Platt that programmers must constantly remind themselves of the following: "Your user is not you."

Platt has recently written a book titled "Why Software Sucks ... And What You Can Do About It." It might be an interesting read.

Computing::Scottsdale Company Seeking CS Interns
I received an email message from a Scottsdale-based company that has a couple of paid computer programming internships available. They are looking for students who know ASP.NET using C#. It was logical for them to query SCC and I forwarded their email message to SCC's CIS department.

Math::Local Paper Looking At MCCCD Math Offerings
The legal department at the Maricopa County Community College District sent out a district-wide email message alerting us that the East Valley Tribune had requested information about all of the math classes (MAT) that start with 08 and 09. The MAT08s are basic arithmetic and the MAT09s are beginning algebra. The information given out includes instructor names. We were not told why the East Valley Tribune wants the information.

[06 January 2007 (I report back to school next week; 44° at 6:08am) top]


2007 has Begun... Happy New Year!

2007 is off and running. The Spring 2007 MOTD is the 29th edition of the MOTD. The Fall 2006 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

[01 January 2007 (another year has started; 43° at 8:48am) top]


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

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