MOTD::Archive::Summer 1999 (13 August 1999)

Spring 1999 MOTD

Today is the one and only Friday the 13th for 1999. Last year there were three of them, and in the year 2000 there is only one (in October). [Here is a Friday the 13th Problem for you to work on.]

Today is also the last day of my summer vacation. This is bad and good: bad because it has been fun not being employed, good because it will be nice getting pay checks again.

Has this weather been awesome or what? I climbed Squaw Peak on Wednesday at 11:00 AM and got chilled when a breeze hit my sweaty shirt. Where's the monsoon?

[13 Aug 1999, top]

Fours years ago on 09 Aug 1995 Jerry Garcia died. I really enjoy hearing Garcia sing "...that lucky old sun got nothin to do but roll, roll around heaven all day...".

[09 Aug 1999, top]

If you live in Tempe, then help save "A" Mountain.
From the World's Smallest Web Servers to the World's Biggest Internet Search Engine to nothing but Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam These are tidbits for the week ending 07 August 1999. [07 Aug 1999, top]

EPIC is the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
"EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values."

A hyperlink to EPIC was added to the ThurmUnit list of on-line organizations.

On 28 July 1999 numerous information providers reported the following news item:

"The Clinton administration and the FBI have developed an anti-terrorism plan to oversee the nation's crucial data networks using an extensive computer monitoring system."
This system -- called FIDNET the Federal Intrusion Detection Network -- will monitor our on-line activities.

A public populated Internet is new and the issues that are covered by organizations like EPIC, such as privacy, security, cryptography, free speech, and so forth, are important.

Direct Hit search engine, called the Popularity Engine, was launched in 1998. In a nutshell, it monitors the results users click on, measures how long they stay at those sites, and calculates which websites are most useful to searchers.

Short Road Trip Completed
ThurmPlace: SouthEast Arizona Tyler and I recently completed a three day/two night 800 mile road trip through SE Arizona.

We took US 60 east and at Superior turned south on state highway 177. Stopped at the small towns of Hayden, Winkleman, and Mammoth. We visited Fort Bowie National Historic Site and the Chirachua National Monument. We drove to Douglas for lunch and stopped at the Lavender Pit Mine before driving through Bisbee. Went to Sierra Vista and was shocked at its size (population around 40,000). Drove to Tombstone and walked the main street, along with a bunch of tourists. Returned to Tempe via Ajo and Gila Bend, then took I-8 (east) to highway 347 (north) to I-10 (north) to US 60 (east).

It was a nice trip, but I am disappointed that we didn't stop at Kitt Peak Observatory.

[31 Jul 1999, top]

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) -- the second largest computer maker in the world -- named a woman, Carleton Fiorina, as its new CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Articles from Wired News and the Washington Post.

Previously we demonstrated a Java applet that kept a running total of the world population (which is currently around 6 billion). 6,000,000,000 is a big number, but it pales when compared to Bill Gates personal wealth.

Top 10 Signs You Work in the 90's from James Gosling's website.

Thurman Speaks About System Administrators is a document that outlines the traits of a good SysAdmin.

The CSC program at SCC could not purchase a VA Linux System because it is not on the District's "approved vendor list." In a nutshell the program was limited to two choices: Compaq and Dell. [We have two Dell computers on order.] This bit of "political stuff" is definitely material for a future ThurmSpeaks.

The 25 July 1999 User Friendly comic strip is great.

[26 Jul 1999, top]

Thirty (30) years ago on this date -- 20 July 1969 -- Man Walked on the Moon.

[20 Jul 1999, top]

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 17 Jul 1999:

[17 Jul 1999, top]

[wow] I just received this URL from a former student (thank you Marcia): Unix and Beyond: An Interview with Ken Thompson. This is great free stuff. Ken Thompson is one of the greatest computer programmers alive.

Also, since I'm editing this file, there appears to be a Windows security crack about to occur. Here is a Washington Post article. CERT is looking into it, but as of "Mon Jul 12 12:53:51 MST 1999" nothing has been posted to their website. [George from this Summer's CSC185 class was the first to report this news to me. Thanks George.] [12 Jul 1999, top]

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 10 Jul 1999:

[10 Jul 1999, top]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [04 Jul 1999, top]

Doesn't this read like science fiction?

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 25 Jun 1999:

[25 Jun 1999, top]


Read about CERT Advisory CA-99-07 the IIS Buffer Overflow problem. CERT considers this security hole to be serious.

[18 Jun 1999, top]

Here is a list of tidbits for the week ending 18 Jun 1999:

[18 Jun 1999, top]


Read about CERT Advisory CA-99-06 the ExploreZip, a Windows Trojan horse program.

What is CERT? [11 Jun 1999, top]

From the June 1999 supplement to "Communications of the ACM" it was reported that James N. Gray was awarded the 1998 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

Gray was honored for his:

"seminal contributions to database and transactional processing and his technical leadership in system implementation"

Jim Gray is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, in San Franciso, CA and is Manager of Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center. Prior to joining Microsoft in 1995, he worked at Digital, Tandem, IBM and AT&T on database and transaction processing systems. Gray received a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and an honorary doctorate from the University of Suttgart.

Previous ACM Turing Award winnners highlighted on the ThurmUnit website: Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Dennis Ritchie, and Ken Thompson.

What is the ACM? [06 Jun 1999, top]

A triple wow-wee! It is old news, but I didn't know this...
Ritchie and Thompson Receive National Medal of Technology From President Clinton.
Here are details of the event from Ritchie himself. [01 Jun 1999, top]

Here is a List of Books that I'm Reading This Summer
Other items...
[31 May 1999, top]

Holy Cow... Email from Kernighan [wow] I found what I felt was piece of non-portable code in The Practice of Programming; consequently, I blasted an email to Brian Kernighan and he replied! Here is a copy of our email correspondence. As part of my original email message, I asked Mr. Kernighan if he would share some advice with us. [26 May 1999, top]

Hello: It is beautiful (sunny, clear, 97°) Friday afternoon here in Tempe, AZ. I wanted to announce that I will be doing CSC185 -- Introduction to the Internet and World Wide Web Programming at the ASU-Research Park for Mesa Community College beginning Wednesday evening on 03-Jun-1999 at 6:00 PM to 8:40 PM. The course runs eight weeks and meets every Monday and Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:40 (wow... that's a long time). The last class get together is on 21-Jul-1999. The CSC185 website for the summer session is in the process of being setup. Last semester I commented about doing CSC185 during the Fall of 1999 semester at Scottsdale Community College (my home school).

Coming Soon: I'm writing a ThurmSpeaks about Internet addiction and I'm going to tell you what list servers (mailing lists) that I subscribe to (just like did with the magazines).

Guessing Game: Last semester my CSC100 class had to write a guessing game program. I did the assignment myself. The source code is found in the files gg.cpp and ggfuncs.cpp. If you want to play the game, then click here. Login as  game  using the password  csc100.

[21 May 1999, top]

You MUST Read This Book The Practice of Programming by Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike is a classic. The authors share with us their many years of experience writing and maintaining a lot of software, teaching programming courses, and working with a wide variety of programmers. They illustrate universal engineering concepts that are indepedent of language, operating system, or programming paradigm. You can buy this book on the web at

On an un-related matter, the comp.lang.c Usenet newsgroup has been getting some good postings. [20 May 1999, top]

The semester is over. I want to thank all of my students for the effort they have given this semester. This is the end of my second year of being a teacher (actually all I do is lecture) and I think I'll be forever trying to figure out how to do a good job. Good luck to all of you!

If you write any programs over the summer, please remember the following rules:

P.S. I don't care what anyone says, but this website has some great hyperlinks on it. [13 May 1999, top]

About the 1999 Fall Semester I'm excited about the upcoming Fall semester (the last pre-Y2K semester).

The CSC200 class will be vastly improved over the one I did this semester. I can and will make this a much more interesting class.

CSC185/CIS133DA will be fun (Internet basics), CSC285/CIS280 will be interesting (Internet programming), and CSC294/CIS280 will be neat (Unix with an Internet orientation).

These courses cover my favorite areas of computing: the Internet, Programming, Java, C, C++, and Unix.

It is a great time to be programmer (although I am not a programmer these days -- I'm an instructor [actually, I'm a lecturer]). The opportunities are plentiful. I'm starting to form the opinion that things will be even greater a year from now (mid-2000).

[12 May 1999, top]

Here are some random tidbits...

[11 May 1999, top]