MOTD::Archive::Spring 2008 (10 May 2008)

Fall 2007 MOTD

Week Ending 10 May 2008

SCC::Thank You Dr. Art DeCabooter
I attended graduation ceremonies at SCC last night (Friday, 9 May 2008). It was fun running into a handful of former students.

The 2008 graduation celebration was Dr. DeCabooter's 31st and final commencement ceremony. DeCabooter has been SCC's President since 1977. Let's see... I must have been starting my junior year of college when DeCabooter assumed leadership of SCC.

During the spring 2008 semester, I used the following question in a couple of my classes...

   It will take _____________ nanobooters to replace one Decabooter.

Art DeCabooter is a great man and SCC is going miss him.

RoadHacker::On The Road Again
We are flying to Chicago to visit my parents in Joliet, Illinois. We are going to drive down to Warsaw and spend two nights there. Warsaw is located in Illinois along the Mississippi River. At Warsaw's Ft. Edwards memorial, you can see into both Missouri and Iowa. On the drive "home" from Warsaw to Joliet, we are going to try to find Thurman Cemetery.

GDT::Final MOTD Posting for Spring 2008
This is the final MOTD posting for the Spring 2008 session. The Summer 2008 MOTD, version 33, will be instantiated on 17 May 2008. I have plans to go through the MOTD archive and fix its massive linkrot. The MOTD does not have a fixed birthdate; therefore, I use 13 December 1997--the date the first MOTD was archived--as the MOTD's birthdate. {GDT::MOTD Archive}

[10 May 2008 (summer break 2008 has started; 66° at 5:48am) top]


Week Ending 03 May 2008

Computing::Microsoft #1, IBM #2, Cisco #3, etc...
Fortune Magazine posted a list of the 20 most profitable technology companies. It was no surprise that Microsoft was number one followed by IBM, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. Google was seventh just behind Oracle. It was kind of nice to see Xerox in 15th place.

Money.CNN.com::20 Most Profitable Tech Companies

Computing::Spam Turns 30; WWW Turns 15
3 May 1978 is considered the birthyear of spam (i.e. junk email). Wow... 30 years of spam. That's lots of spam.

Unhappy Birthday to Spam!

SPAM (written in all upper-case) is the food product; spam (written in all lower-case) is email spam (and visual spam and answering machine spam and P.O. Box spam and so on).

Templetons.com:: Reaction of the DEC Spam of 1978


Happy 15th Birthday to the WWW.

30 April 1993... the WWW went public. And 15 years later, Tim Berners-Lee claims the web is still an infant.

BBC.co.uk::The World Wide Web turns 15 (again)

Foo::Scary or Opportunity?
I saw a headline that read something similar to the following: "How I'm coping with a scary market."

If dollars coming in is greater than dollars going out, then I suggest replacing the word scary with the word opportunity?

Case in point: Sun Microsystems (JAVA).

Sadly, I'm stuck being a long-term investor; in other words, I don't "see" the short term. It becomes almost too predictable: based up short-term behavior, a stock takes a hit and greats a potential buying opportunity. Once a stock makes a new 52-week low, in weak or volatile market conditions, it continues to make new 52-week lows. Bottom-fishing is difficult at best; therefore, I buy in chunks. Transactions costs increase, but the potential payoffs are at least in the 3-digit percentages (and sometimes 4-digits). It become similar to baseball: if you get three hits for every ten at-bats, you're a highly paid superstar.

The following just doesn't seem right...

JAVA shares plummet 22.6% on the same day Sun Microsystems announces that "Neil Young Takes Center Stage at JavaOne Keynote in San Francisco."

Following Neil's advice... I won't "let it bring me down."

[03 May 2008 (May has arrived; 63° at 6:58am) top]


Week Ending 26 April 2008

Computing::InformIT.com Interviews Donald Knuth
I never regarded Donald Knuth as one of the fathers of open source, but it appears as if TeX might have been one of the first open source program.

   [source: TUG.org, TeX User Group]
   "TeX (= tau epsilon chi, and pronounced similar to "blecch", not 
    to the state known for `Tex-Mex' chili) is a computer language 
    designed for use in typesetting; in particular, for typesetting 
    math and other technical (from greek "techne" = art/craft, the 
    stem of `technology') material."

The following is a quote by Knuth when asked if has been "surprised by the success of open source."

   "The success of open source code is perhaps the only thing in 
    the computer field that hasn't surprised me during the past 
    several decades. But it still hasn't reached its full potential; 
    I believe that open-source programs will begin to be completely 
    dominant as the economy moves more and more from products towards 
    services, and as more and more volunteers arise to improve the code."

Thank You to InformIT.com for posting their interview with Donald Knuth.

P.S. Knuth uses Ubuntu Linux on a laptop.

InformIT.com::Interview with Donald Knuth

Technology::Austin Versus Phoenix
Chad Graham, a Business blogger for the Arizona Republic, posted an item titled "In Austin, they ask 'what recession?'" on 2008.04.18 that prompted me to post the following comment.

   I'll compare states rather than cities...

   Texas has one of the largest computing grids in the world; 
   in other words, Texas is into the 21st century technologies 
   of high-performance computing and 21st century Informatics. 

   Texas is a leader when it comes to nanotechnology. 

   Texas has more than three universities.

   Given its computing grid, its nanotech leadership position 
   and its universities, Texas will probably become a major 
   biotech state.  21st century biology requires computing 
   and nanotech.

A couple of days later the Business Journal posted a list of the 100 "brainiest metro areas."

Madison, WI, Washington DC and San Jose CA. Phoenix AZ was #70. Austin TX was #12.

BizJournals.com::Brainpower rankings of 100 top metros

Quotes::Three More Quotes Added To GDT::Quotes
I wanted the last quote of the semester to be related to education. I had not used a Mark Twain quote during the semester, so a Mark Twain quote was selected as the final quote.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
-- Mark Twain (01835-01910) {American humorist, novelist, writer and lecturer; more...} [education]

The only person who is educated is the one
who has learned how to learn and change.

-- Carl Rogers (01902-01987) { American psychologist; more... } [education]

Formal education will make you a living;
self-education will make you a fortune.

-- Jim Rohn (01930-) {American business man; more...} [education]

[26 April 2008 (one week of lecture left; 64° at 7:22am) top]


Week Ending 19 April 2008

Computing::Woz.org Think Reading, Writing, Computing
Years ago I advocated that our K-12 system be changed from "reading, writing, arithmetic" to "reading, writing, arithmetic and computing." The idea in a nutshell--students need to be able to write a simple computer program in order to graduate high-school.

I ended up at Woz.org while searching for information about the Charles Babbage-designed Difference Engine #2 being displayed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. I came across the following while at Woz.org...

Email received by Steve Wozniak that he posted to Woz.org.

   "I am in the Individual Studies curriculum at a local community
    college. Right now I'm taking programming courses in the Liberal 
    Math and Science department ( no CS department at my school)."

   "A strange thing I have noticed since beggining my first programming
    course (C++). My writing has improved dramatically. I'm also thinking
    much more clearly."

Woz's reply...

   "I'll remember to tell that to school administrators when I 
    try to convince them that programming should be required 
    from 8th grade on."

[Extra] ComputerHistory.org::The Babbage Engine

Internet::YouTube Sees Only Bits
Chris Porter-Marsh is an AzCentral.com blogger. She had a posting on 17 April 2008 titled "YouTube and its potential glory..." that prompted me to make a comment.

March started her posting with the following--"One of my students brought up an interesting question in class yesterday: Does YouTube promote violence?"

   posted by Gerald9588  on Apr 18, 2008 at 04:17 PM

   YouTube doesn't "create," "promote," or "cause" anything because 
   all it does is serve up bits (i.e. binary digits). And as it should 
   be, YouTube doesn't know anything  about violence, porn, humor, 
   politics, mother nature, religion, stupid teens, etc. -- it only 
   sees zeros and ones.

Note: Chris used the phrase "stupid teens." In addition, Chris believes YouTube was the "catalyst" for teens to do stupid things.

YouTube is nothing more than an Internet-based website and the Internet is nothing more than an efficient transmitter of bits.

Quotes::Quote Collection Tops 600 Quotes
The addition of the following five quotes have caused the GDT::Quote collection to grow to 602 quotes.

If you don't like what your're doing, don't do it.
-- Ray Bradbury (01920-02012) {American science fiction writer; more...} [life]

First you jump off the cliff and you build wings on the way down.
-- Ray Bradbury (01920-02012) {American science fiction writer; more...} [life]

I think you never want to underestimate an American's willingness
to go into debt. I have taken a look at recessions. What do people
do in good and bad times? Drink, smoke, gamble and largely they
want to be entertained.

-- Ralph Schackart { market analyst; Wall Street Transcript report on Digital Media } [consumerism]

Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra.
In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.

-- Fran Lebowitz (01950-) { American author; more... } [algebra]

Men are liars. We'll lie about lying if we have to. I'm
an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.

-- Tim Allen (01953-) { American comedian; more... } [life]

[19 April 2008 (looking forward to summer travels; 60° at 7:15am) top]


Week Ending 12 April 2008

Computing::Joseph Weizenbaum Added to the DeadTeam
Joseph Weizenbaum (01923-02008) died on 5 March 2008.

Weizenbaum was the 1988 winner of CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award.

Norbert Wiener (01894-01964) did "pioneering work in cybernetics" and he was one of the "pillars on which computer technology was created." Wiener's writings on computers and society were among the "first inklings of the problems and potentials that this new technology would create." [quotes by Terry Winograd]

Weizenbaum was a guru in artificial intelligence (AI).

   "The goal is to give to the computer those tasks which 
    it can best do and leave to man that which requires 
    (or seems to require) his judgment."

Weizenbaum created ELIZA circa 1966. ELIZA was a "mid-'60s computer program that conducted natural-language conversations, notably mimicking a psychotherapist's interview with a patient."

   "Perhaps the computer, as well as many other of our machines 
    and techniques, can yet be transformed, following our own 
    authentically revolutionary transformation, into instruments 
    to enable us to live harmoniously with nature and with one 
    another. But one prerequisite will first have to be met: there 
    must be another transformation of man. And it must be one that 
    restores a balance between human knowledge, human aspirations, 
    and an appreciation of human dignity such that man may become 
    worthy of living in nature."

External hyperlinks.

GDT::AzCentral.com Blog Comment
The three major universities in Arizona have offered up a plan to help turn Arizona's economy around: let's build more buildings at the universities. Discussion about this topic happened at AzCentral.com and I posted the following comment.

   Speaking of money going into buildings...  The Maricopa 
   Community Colleges keep building buildings, yet enrollments 
   have been declining.  The MCC campuses are already grossly 
   underutilized.  Visit any campus between Friday afternoon 
   and Monday morning--they are empty. 

   Scottsdale Community College is building a new science building, 
   yet the school has virtually no science students.  If the science 
   building was going to become a home to students excited about 
   learning science, then build it, but these days a few trailers 
   would suffice.

   Academic institutions should be allocating money to provide 
   more online/hybrid courses, which don't require buildings. 

GDT::Being Sick Sucks
The MOTD was not updated last Saturday because I came down with strep throat. The illness completely disabled me. I missed an entire week of classes and I missed the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster's 3rd Annual Symposium, which was held at SCC on Thursday, 10 April 2008. I'm almost 100% now, but being sick is a great way to remind us the value of good health. Upon getting better, I added the following quote from Henry David Thoreau to GDT::Quotes.

'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

I don't ever want to be sick again, but when it happens, I will try to keep Thoreau's words in mind.

[12 April 2008 (the semester ends in four weeks; 60° at 6:50am) top]


Week Ending 29 March 2008

EDU::MCCCD Raises Tuition Rates 9.2 Percent
Robert Robb, columnist for the Arizona Republic, posted an item to his AzCentral.com blog titled: "Avoiding community college tuition increases." I made the following comment to Robb's posted.

   posted by Gerald9588  on Mar 27, 2008 at 06:29 AM

   The Maricopa County Community College District would be
   a penny stock if it were a publically traded company.  

   Since the fall of 1997, the MCCCD has raised tuition rates 91.9%.  
   The fall 1997 tuition rate was $37 (per in-state credit hour).  
   Now it is $71.  According to a CPI Inflation Calculator, what 
   cost $37 in 1997 costs $48.80 in 2008.  In other words, the 
   2008-09 MCCCD tuition rate should be at most $50.

   These tuition rate increases exclude increases to course fees.  
   Almost every course has a "fee" attached to it.  For example, 
   a student taking an English class has to pay an $x course fee.  
   Why?  In many cases it's called revenue generation.

   A couple of years ago the MCCCD raised the registration fee 
   from $5 to $15 (a 200% increase).  You would think after spending 
   millions of dollars on computer systems that the registration fee 
   would do down rather up. 

   The MCCCD has done virtually nothing to allay the cost of textbooks.  
   For example, a basic algebra textbook can cost over $100.  That's 
   about $100 more than what it should cost.  Almost all instructors 
   require their students to buy textbooks.

   I have worked for the MCCCD since the fall of 1997.  My job could 
   easily be eliminated.  In addition, to date, I have not experienced 
   a pay cut.  It is simply way too easy to force students to spend 
   money they don't have (i.e. take on debt) in the hopes their college 
   paperwork will pay off in the long run.  As far as I know, college 
   degrees come with zero guarantees.

   In 2008-09 it will cost a student $86 to take a 1-credit course, but 
   that does not include course fee (if any), book expense (if any), and 
   transportation costs to get to/from campus.  The MCCCD promotes 
   life-long learning, but sadly there are too many of us who cannot 
   afford to use the MCCCD to help us be life-long learners.

Computing::MathBabbler Number Analyst (a work in progress)
I do a lot of BABbling about numbers and numbers can be categorized in a variety of ways. During March of 2008 I've been writing C++ programs to help analyze numbers. The following three programs have been written since the first batch programs were written.

These three new programs join the following.

RoadHacker::Pi Day 2008 Roadtrip Slideshow
2-day, 655 mile, roadtrip with one night in Springerville, AZ. Arizona: Roper Lake State Park, Safford, Clifton, Apache National Forest, White Mountains, Springerville, Greer, Ft. Apache, Kinishba Ruins, Salt River Canyon, and Superior. New Mexico: drive US Hwy-180 on Pi Day, Gila National Forest, the Catwalk at Whitewater Canyon.

RoadHacker:: 2-Day, 655 Mile, Pi Day 2008 Roadtrip

[29 March 2008 (March is almost over and so is spring semester; 60° at 5:50am) top]


Week Ending 22 January 2008

Computing::My Organization Memberships
Being a member in "professional" organizations is important. As of mid-March 2008, I belong to the following.

   Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (cpsr.org)
   ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) (acm.org)
   EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) (eff.org)
   FSF (Free Software Foundation) (fsf.org)
   AzNano.org (Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster)
   LongNow.org (Long Now Foundation)

CPSR.org | ACM.org | EFF.org | FSF.org | AzNano.org | LongNow.org

Math::Pi Day 2008 Was Fun
I took a 2-day, 655 mile, roadtrip to celebrate Pi Day 2008. Four BABs were created prior to the roadtrip and three BABs were created afterwards. A total of 12 BARS were created. Six videos were uploaded to the AzRoadHacker YouTube account. Two new signs were added to my collection of prime numbered highways signs, one sign was added to my collection of square number highway signs, one sign was added to my collection of prime numbered speed limit signs, and three signs were added to the 314 milepost collection.

MathBabbler::Pi Day 2008 Report

GDT::The Halle's Are Cooler Than Cool
I posted the following to my AzCentral.com blog on 21 March 2008.

   I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Diane and Bruce Halle for 
   their $350,000 gift to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. 
   Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center for neuro-oncology research. 

   [Kudos to the Arizona Repubic for reporting about the Halle's gift.]

   For almost eight years I was an employee at Discount Tire Company, 
   which was founded by Bruce Halle in 1960. Discount Tire Company is 
   a great American company and it has helped many of its employees 
   realize their American dreams.

   Diane and Bruce Halle are cooler than cool and 
   they are great Americans.

Discount Tire Company was a great company to work for and I will be forever grateful to Mr. Halle.

[22 March 2008 (Spring has sprung!; 53° at 5:41am) top]


Week Ending 15 January 2008

Math::Pi Day 2008
I'm off to celebrate Pi Day 2008. I even took the time to write this Pi poem.

[15 March 2008 (posted on Pi Day 2008; 59° at 3:42am) top]


Week Ending 08 March 2008

Computing::Programming a Number Analyst
I do a lot of BABbling about numbers and numbers can be categorized in a variety of ways. During the last few days, the following C++ programs were written to help analyze numbers.

EDU::Spring Break Should Be Cancelled
I'm a huge fan of Spring Break, but these days I'm starting to think that spring breaks should be cancelled. I know what's going to happen this semester--we're going to lose at least a quarter (i.e. 25%) of the forward step we made during the first eight weeks of the semester. Notice I wrote "at least," which implies we could lose more.

Foo::Spring Break 2008
Today is the official start of Spring Break 2008 and attending the Great Arizona Beer Festival today is an excellent way to start any type of break. On Tuesday night we'll be spending a night at the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott. On Friday, March 14th, we'll be celebrating Pi Day 2008 by driving in New Mexico and Arizona on U.S. Highway 180. Pi Day night will be spent in Springerville, Arizona.

TempeHiker::Carraro Cactus Garden and Tovrea Castle
Picasaweb.Google.com::Kath.McMachon:: Carraro Cactus Garden and Tovrea Castle

[08 March 2008 (Spring Break 2008 has begun; 50° at 5:57am) top]


Week Ending 01 March 2008

GDT::Guns on Campus
I posted the following three "guns on campus" items to my blog on AzCentral.com.

   Will a Gun Statement Be Required In Syllabi?

   If guns on campus are allowed, then will faculty have to 
   state in their syllabus their gun belief system?

   Student Ralph says, "I'm not taking a class from Instructor Zeroman 
   because he doesn't carry a gun--his classroom is not safe."

   Student Edith says, "That professor is 70 years old.  He might 
   have a great gun, but he's slower than a two-legged dog."

   Instructor Fooman's syllabus contains the following section:
   I am 50+ years young and I have never carried a gun.  I don't 
   have a gun on me now and I will never bring a gun onto our campus.  
   If a terrorist comes into this classroom, then remember this quote:  
   "If you ever need a helping hand, then there's a hand at the end 
    of your arm." 

   ---

   Kindergartners in Arizona are Sitting Ducks?

   I couldn't believe the quote from politician Karen Johnson:  
   "It's not the bill that I wanted because I still feel our 
    little kindergartners are sitting there as sitting ducks." 

   My kids are adults, but I guess Arizona schools have morphed 
   into war zones since they graduated.

   ---

   Once again I'll repeat my upcoming movie:  "Gunfight in Room 314." 

   The movie takes place on an Arizona community college campus.  
   An instructor annoys a student and the student responds by 
   shooting a gun. Collateral damage is mininal: two innocent 
   students are hurt, a couple of computers are damaged, and 
   the overhead projected gets buried with the dead instructor. 

   Guns on campus--is this 1908 or 2008?

GDT::MCCCD Tidbits
Somebody who works at the MCCCD was quoted saying the following.

   "At the moment I am not convinced that the administration has 
    good faith. It appears to this faculty person that administration 
    is trying to learn from ASU's Crow and seeks to join him in 
    destroying education in Maricopa."

Crow probably doesn't give a foo about anybody in the MCCCD has to say. Crow is a 21st century leader and Arizona is lucky to have him.

Speaking of the MCCCD, they want to increase 2008-09 tuition rates by 9.23%. I suspect it's a done deal.

I posted the following to an AzCentral.com blog.

   Sharon Corea - My View
   Community Activist in Mesa, southeast valley, and state 
   issues that pertain to quality of life.

   "Confidence & Calm good for MCC"

   posted by Gerald9588  on Dec 30, 2007 at 06:33 AM 

   I'm happy to see Dr. Pan moving into the top slot at MCC.  
   Let's hope his first face-to-face with Dr. Crow goes well.  
   Let's further hope he learns quickly that he needs to work 
   closely with Dr. Giovannini at Gateway CC. 

   Now the MCCCD has to select a new President at Scottsdale CC.  
   I hope they select somebody that is not a luddite.

TempeHiker::Mesa Cemetery and Downtown Sculptures
TempeHiker:: Mesa Cemetery and Downtown Sculptures

[01 March 2008 (it's starting to look a lot like spring; 55° at 5:44am) top]


Week Ending 23 February 2008

Computing::Stock Market Sucked During January of 2008
Approximate market values for some computer companies at the end of January, 2008.

   Company                Market Value
   ======================================
   Microsoft............. $296.80 billion
   Google................ $170.86 billion
   Cisco................. $146.27 billion
   IBM................... $145.62 billion
   Intel................. $121.26 billion
   Apple................. $115.54 billion
   Hewlett-Packard....... $110.11 billion
   Oracle................ $102.22 billion
   Dell.................. $ 45.09 billion
   EMC................... $ 32.80 billion
   eBay.................. $ 35.86 billion
   Amazon.com............ $ 30.53 billion
   Yahoo!................ $ 26.94 billion
   VMware................ $ 21.51 billion
   Sun Microsystems...... $ 13.93 billion

   Exxon Mobile.......... $472.06 billion  [oil company]
   General Electric...... $355.30 billion  [conglomerate]
   AT&T.................. $232.63 billion  [communications]
   Wal-Mart Stores....... $203.20 billion  [retail]
   Toyota Motor.......... $172.48 billion  [automotive]
   Citigroup............. $140.70 billion  [financial]

Robots::Multiple Robots Per Home
iRobot Corp. wants our homes to be full of robots.

   "Eventually in our homes, we will have teams of single-purpose 
    robots working together to accomplish a variety of jobs. For 
    example, a Roomba could be vacuuming your living and dining 
    rooms, a window washing robot could be hard at work in the 
    family room, and a dog-walking robot could be out walking 
    Fido. And ConnectR could be working with you to call the 
    shots. 'I think there will be one robot that talks to humans 
    and directs the little bots,' says Angle."

Colin Angle is co-founder and CEO of iRobot Corp.

Foo::Teaching is Yet Another Profession
I'm a sucker for headlines. AzCentral.com blog posting had the headline "Teaching isn't part-time work." I had to post a comment so I did.

   Posted by Gerald9588  on Feb 21, 2008 at 05:49 PM 

   It's independent of profession:  Many of us define the 
   America dream as not being able to differentiate between 
   work and play. 

   Anyone who is passionate about their profession works all the 
   time and that's because to them (just like reason #4 to work 
   for Google), "work and play are not mutually exclusive."

[23 February 2008 (it's the last week of February; 50° at 5:57am) top]


Week Ending 16 February 2008

Foo::Week Five Ends; Week Six Begins
I know it can't be true, but the semesters keep getting shorter and shorter. February of 2008 is more than half over (13 days left, which is less than two full weeks).

29 February 2008 is nearing. 2008 is a leap year and the next leap year isn't until 2012. 2012 is when the state of Arizona transitions from Century 0 to Century 1. 2/29/2008 was on a Friday. This extra day might used to get a picture of a road sign located on US Hwy-191 near the town of Alpine.

Spring Break 2008 is nearing and I have zero plans.

Pi Day 2008 is on Friday, March 14th. Pi Day 2008 is the last weekday of Spring Break.

Going to LA to the House of Pies would be a true RoadHacker adventure, but I might delay it for a year or two or three (but not four).

Big nano event is being held at SCC during April of 2008.

The Spring Semester 2008 ends on Saturday, 10 May 2008.

I exit age 50 and enter age 51 on Thursday, 28 May 2008.

[16 February 2008 (damp this Saturday morning; 46° at 7:10am) top]


Week Ending 09 February 2008

Computing::Jim Gray Has Been Gone For Over a Year
For the first time since its creation, a member of the GDT::DreamTeam has been moved to the GDT::DeadTeam.

Dr. Jim Gray is considered the father of transaction processing.

Jim Gray disappeared without a trace on a sailing trip to the Farallon Islands on 28 January 2007.

Jim Gray, who was the only Microsoft employee on the GDT::DreamTeam, received the ACM A.M. Turing Award in 1998 and the IEEE Charles Babbage Award in 1982.

Jim Gray was the first to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

   "Three organizations dedicated to the advancement of computing science, 
    IEEE Computer Society, ACM, and UC Berkeley, announced they will join 
    the family and colleagues of Jim Gray in hosting a tribute to the 
    legendary computer science pioneer."

Jim Gray worked as a researcher at Bell Labs, IBM, Tandem Computer, DEC and Microsoft.

Computing::Open Source Ends Decade Zero Begins Decade One
Kudos to Open Source for making it to Decade One.

   "On February 9, 1998, I published the Open Source Definition  
    and the public announcement of the Open Source Initiative  
    that Eric Raymond and I were starting. This was the first 
    time that the general public heard what Open Source was about. 
    Friday, February 8 is the last day of Decade Zero of Open Source. 
    Saturday, February 9 is the anniversary of Open Source and the 
    start of Decade One.  It's a computer scientist thing. We always 
    start counting from zero :-)
    --Bruce Perens

Yes... Bruce Perens did use a smiley face.

Perens.com:: State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source

Math::Three Years of BABbling
MathBabbler created the first BAB (Basic Arithmetic Bit) on 9 February 2005. Three years later, on 9 February 2008, BAB number 1393 was created to document this milestone.

Today's date written in a MM/DD/YY format is a BAD (Basic Arithmetic Date).

02/09/08 -- 2sqrt(9) = 8

BAB:: BABs Turn Three Years Young

[09 February 2008 (we're 4 weeks into the semester; 43° at 6:45am) top]


Week Ending 02 February 2008

Future::Is Arizona Moving Into the 21st Century?
With all the great stuff being done at TGen, Biodesign Institute at ASU, High Performance Computing Initiative at ASU, BIO5 at UA, TGen North at NAU/Flagstaff, it got me thinking about SkySong. SkySong has a big neighbor--General Dynamics. Loop 101 north gets you to Scottsdale Airpark and Loop 101 south gets you to Chandler/South Tempe Loop 101 technology corridor. Head south on Scottsdale Road and you hit Arizona State University at the Tempe campus. SkySong motto: "Innovation. Technology. Imagination."

Robotics::It's Happening
Is this an age of robotics?

   "It's not so easy to see that smudge in ground and decide 
    we've crossed the line, but I think with some additional 
    years of perspective we'll say, yeah, we crossed that line 
    somewhere around the mid 1990s."

PopularMechanics.com:: 9 Questions for Carnegie Mellon Robot Chief Matthew Mason

RoadHacker::Winslow, Arizona
Winslow, La Posada, Standin On The Corner during January of 2008.

TempeHiker::From SCC To Tempe
Lots of rain caused the creation of numerous reflective ponds at SCC and the rain forced Tempe Town Lake to become the Salt River.

[02 February 2008 (Stupid Bowl weekend in Glendale; 42° at 6:08am) top]


Week Ending 26 January 2008

Computing::Dennis Ritchie Retires?
Ken Thompson won the ACM Turing Award in 1984. He wrote a paper titled "Reflections on Trusting Trust" that many computing gurus consider a classic. Thompson ended his essay with the following essay.

   "I have watched kids testifying before Congress. It is clear 
    that they are completely unaware of the seriousness of their 
    acts. There is obviously a cultural gap. The act of breaking 
    into a computer system has to have the same social stigma as 
    breaking into a neighbor's house. It should not matter that 
    the neighbor's door is unlocked. The press must learn that 
    misguided use of a computer is no more amazing than drunk 
    driving of an automobile."

Anybody who breaks into a computer is a cracker and crackers are criminals. And this is true independent of the cracker's age.

Bell-Labs.com:: Reflections on Trusting Trust by Ken Thompson

Computing::From Seeds and Stems to Zeros and Ones
The following is the last verse to Commander Cody's "Seeds and Stems Again Blues."

   Well my dog died just yesterday and left me all alone.
   The finance company dropped by today and repossessed my home.
   That's just a drop in the bucket compared to losing you,
   And I'm down to seeds and stems again, too.
   Got the Down to Seeds and Stems again Blues.

The verse computized...

   Well my computer crashed yesterday and left me without MySpace.
   The cable company flipped a switch today 
   and disconnected me from the HumanRace.
   That's just a bit in the bucket compared to not googling you,
   And I'm void of zeros and ones again, too.
   Got the void of zeros and ones again Blues.

YouTube.com:: Seeds and Stems Again Blues

Math::January 23 was National Pie Day
January 23rd is National Pie Day. "Created by the American Pie Council, National Pie Day is dedicated to the celebration of pie."

In math world, January 23rd could be World PiE Day, where Pi and E are the mathematical constants 3.14159265 and 2.71828183, respectively.

Observe: floor(Pi÷E) equals 1 and ceil(Pi^E) equals 23.

   pi/e = 1.15572735      and   pi^e = 22.4591577
   floor(1.15572735) = 1        ceil(22.4591577) = 23

   World PiE Day:  floor(Pi÷E)/ceil(Pi^E)/YYYY 
                   where YYYY is the current year

[26 January 2008 (spring semester is up and running; 45° at 6:09am) top]


Week Ending 19 January 2008

Computing::Sun Microsystems Buys MySQL
Sun Microsystems announced it is going acquire MySQL for "approximately $1 billion in total consideration." ($800 million in cash in exchange for all MySQL stock and assume approximately $200 million in options)

Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and president, Sun Microsystems was quoted saying the following.

   "Today's acquisition reaffirms Sun's position at the center of 
    the global Web economy. Supporting our overall growth plan, 
    acquiring MySQL amplifies our investments in the technologies 
    demanded by those driving extreme growth and efficiency, from 
    Internet media titans to the world's largest traditional enterprises."
    
   "MySQL's employees and culture, along with its near ubiquity across 
    the Web, make it an ideal fit with Sun's open approach to network 
    innovation. And most importantly, this announcement boosts our 
    investments into the communities at the heart of innovation on 
    the Internet and of enterprises that rely on technology as a 
    competitive weapon."

From Sun's press release...

   "More than 100 million copies of MySQL's high-performance open 
    source database software have been downloaded and distributed 
    and an additional 50,000 copies are downloaded daily."

As a JAVA shareholder, I say 'Kudos' to Sun. [JAVA closed at $14.98 on 1/15/2008]

Sun.com:: Sun Microsystems Announces Agreement to Acquire MySQL

Computing::Oracle Buys BEA Systems
Oracle announced it is acquiring BEA Systems for $19.38 a share in cash, or $8.5 billion. That's a 24 percent premium to Tuesday' closing price. "The addition of BEA products and technology will significantly enhance and extend Oracle's Fusion middleware software suite," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in a statement.

BEAS closed on 15 January 2008 at $15.58.

Oracle's initial bid for BEA Systems, which was made during the 2nd-half of 2007, was $17 per share. BEA Systems responded to Oracle stating the company was worth $21 per share.

Stocks Stuffer sold their BEAS shares on 10/12/2007 at $18.73 after purchasing them on 6/1/2004 at $8.60.

Computing::Thompson's "Reflections on Trusting Trust"
Ken Thompson won the ACM Turing Award in 1984. He wrote a paper titled "Reflections on Trusting Trust" that many computing gurus consider a classic. Thompson ended his essay with the following essay.

   "I have watched kids testifying before Congress. It is clear 
    that they are completely unaware of the seriousness of their 
    acts. There is obviously a cultural gap. The act of breaking 
    into a computer system has to have the same social stigma as 
    breaking into a neighbor's house. It should not matter that 
    the neighbor's door is unlocked. The press must learn that 
    misguided use of a computer is no more amazing than drunk 
    driving of an automobile."

Anybody who breaks into a computer is a cracker and crackers are criminals. And this is true independent of the cracker's age.

Bell-Labs.com:: Reflections on Trusting Trust by Ken Thompson

[19 January 2008 (heading to chilly Winslow in a couple hours; 35° at 5:22am) top]


Week Ending 12 January 2008

SCC::Enrollment Issues Campus Wide
Computer enrollments started to drop shortly after the dot-com correction, but now many parts of SCC are experiencing declining enrollments. For example, about 16 math classes were cancelled. As of this weekend, SCC had cancelled 245 classes. Headcounts were down 2.3% and the all important FTSE (Full Time Student Exchange), which dictates funding levels, was down 0.6%.

In an attempt to find how FTSE is calculated, I came across the following from 24 June 2004: "Strong Enrollment Growth Continues at Maricopa County Community College District ... Growth trend shows no sign of easing." The press release stated: "The Maricopa Community Colleges anticipate enrollment will top 400,000 students throughout the district by 2010." What's the projection now?

BTW... "FTSE is a means for counting student enrollment for state funding purposes. It is calculated by a state-determined formula which counts all course enrollments and divides that figure by 15 (the number representing a full time student's course load)."

Computing::CS Is Not Programming, But...
If left up to me, computer science students would first learn how to use a Unix system via the command-line and their first programming language would be BASH (one 3-credit course). The second 3-credit course is used to help students learn C with extensive coverage of the Standard C Library. To date I have not seen anybody with the same opinion.

   "As faculty members at New York University for decades, 
    we have regretted the introduction of Java as a first 
    language of instruction for most computer science majors. 
    We have seen how this choice has weakened the formation 
    of our students, as reflected in their performance in 
    systems and architecture courses. As founders of a company 
    that specializes in Ada programming tools for mission-critical 
    systems, we find it harder to recruit qualified applicants who 
    have the right foundational skills. We want to advocate a more 
    rigorous formation, in which formal methods are introduced early 
    on, and programming languages play a central role in CS education."

If BASH and C can't be the first programming languages, then use C++ as a "better" C.

   "It [Texas A&M] did [teach Java as the first language]. Then I 
    started teaching C++ to the electrical engineers and when the 
    EE students started to out-program the CS students, the CS 
    department switched to C++." -- Bjarne Stroustrup

The following quote is still applicable today.

   "Real programmers can write Fortran in any language."

AF.mil:: Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow?

Computing::CACM Celebrates Its 50th Year
If left up to me, computer science students would first learn how to use a Unix system via the command-line and their first programming language would be BASH (one 3-credit course). The second 3-credit course is used to help students learn C with extensive coverage of the Standard C Library. To date I have not seen anybody with the same opinion.

   "As faculty members at New York University for decades, 
    we have regretted the introduction of Java as a first 
    language of instruction for most computer science majors. 
    We have seen how this choice has weakened the formation 
    of our students, as reflected in their performance in 
    systems and architecture courses. As founders of a company 
    that specializes in Ada programming tools for mission-critical 
    systems, we find it harder to recruit qualified applicants who 
    have the right foundational skills. We want to advocate a more 
    rigorous formation, in which formal methods are introduced early 
    on, and programming languages play a central role in CS education."

If BASH and C can't be the first programming languages, then use C++ as a "better" C.

   "It [Texas A&M] did [teach Java as the first language]. Then I 
    started teaching C++ to the electrical engineers and when the 
    EE students started to out-program the CS students, the CS 
    department switched to C++." -- Bjarne Stroustrup

The following quote is still applicable today.

   "Real programmers can write Fortran in any language."

AF.mil:: Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow?

[12 January 2008 (classes start next week; 45° at 5:48am) top]


Week Ending 05 January 2008

Space::Where Do Wanna-be Presidents Stand?
Space.com posted the following: "Space exploration has become a topic of interest in U.S. presidential debates for the first time in over 40 years." Space.com also went on to state: "Several of them have expressed opinions about space; but most, to our knowledge, have not spoken directly about space, or addressed it at all."

I'm pro-Space. From roadtripping today to someday spacetripping?

Space.com:: Round Up: Presidential Candidates Talk Space

Robotics::I Really Should Start a Yet-Another-Blog
Not to put astrounauts out of business, but some space explorations could be accomplished with robots instead of humans (astrobots? and longer term astronanobots?).

There was a stretch when robotic-related items were posted to the Spring 2005 MOTD.

   Robot Attending a San Diego Nusery School (2005.05.07)
   Smart Chairs (2005.04.30)
   Airlines Say No to Robotic Passenger(2005.04.23)
   Robots--Land, Sea, and Air (2005.03.26)
   Kurzweil Speaks About Robot Wars (2005.03.12)
   If Monkies Can Do It... (2005.02.26)
   New Robots Walk Like Humans (2005.02.19)
   Kurzweil Says... GNR (2005.02.05)

Yes, a blog to support learning about robotics needs to be instantiated, but I've got some internal website housekeeping to do.

GDT::2007 Blogging Totals

Spring 2008 begins the 32nd edition of the MOTD. (The MOTD was started Fall of 1997 and there are three editions [spring, summer, fall] per year.)

With respect to my other blogs, Math Babbler was busiest with 129 postings followed by 84 Computing Bits. The following table summarizes the historical posting counts for all 10 of my blogs.

                         07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00 99 98   Total #Archives
   =====================================================================
   Internet Observer.....69,94,51,49,52,45,48,45,53,33   539          10
   Unix & Linux Logger...57,57,48,50,51,46,48,46,35      447           9
   Security Watchdog.....54,82,54,48,51,47,48,38         422           8
   Computing Bits........84,60,51,49,46,12,3             305           5
   Biotech Trekker.......57,62,49,48,56,3                275           5
   Stocks Stuffer........70,52,52,54,33                  261           5
   Nanotech Smallblog....39,28,40,48,30                  185           5
   FLOSSER...............41,44,39,16                     140           4
   Grid Utilitarian......53,49,42,12                     156           4
   Math Babbler..........129,3                           132           1

I started doing BABs (Basic Arithmetic Bits) on 9 February 2005. 603 BABs were created during 2007 compared to 583 in 2006 and 147 in 2005. The BAB count at the end of 2007 was 1333.

179 of the BABs for 2007 were BARs (compared to 183 BARS last year). 2007 ended with a BARS count of 378.

The GDT::Quote collection ended 2007 with 575 quotes.

The GDT::Speaks collection grew by nine during 2007 with the last one posted on May 28th.

[05 January 2008 (it might be a rainy weekend; 57° at 6:21am) top]


2008 Has Begun... Happy New Year!

2008 is off and running. The Spring 2008 MOTD is the 32nd edition of the MOTD. The Fall 2007 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

[01 January 2008 (another new year begins; 40° at 7:44am) top]


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

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