MOTD::Archive::Summer 2001 (17 August 2001)

Spring 2001 MOTD

Week Ending 17 August 2001

Is this the Last or is it the First...
I'm not sure if this MOTD posting is the last of the summer or the first for the fall. Doesn't matter.

To the Fall 2001 students new to ThurmUnit, we say welcome. To those returning students, we say thank you.

Enrollments at SCC are strong; however, the norm doesn't apply to CSC. The CSC enrollments for Fall 2001 are low. A glob of the program could have been cancelled, but many of my bosses do a good job providing me with positive support. [If only they would give me a bunch of money and let me write the rules.]

Java Versus C and C++
I am teaching C, C++ and Java this semester. All of those students are going to read the article Java to Overtake C/C++ in 2002. Programming language debates are fun and will never end.

Tuesday's Gone... Simple Man... That Smell
My summer ended with lots of music. First it was Depeche Mode and last night (16 August 2001) it was Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Celebrity Theatre. It was the second time I've seen them and they did a great job. Ted Nugent was the warm-up and he is a guru guitar player. Here is a list of the concerts I've attended.

[17 August 2001 (Hot, Mostly Sunny... 103° @ 3:15pm) top]

Week Ending 10 August 2001

Road Trip 2001 is Over
I just returned from a 2848 mile road trip to Kansas. The trip had adventures [but, no tornado], numerous scenic routes, and encounters with cool people. I haven't written a trip report [yet], but here is a directory listing to some pictures.

Google Programmer on a Major Trip
Chad's bike ride across America (Sunnyvale CA to Fort Meyers FL) makes my road trip look like a walk across town. One bike. One Googler. One really long ride.

IBM Creating Artificial Passengers
IBM is working on creating an artificial passenger designed to make long solo journeys safer and more bearable. The software chats to you, chooses your music, tells you jokes - and sounds alarms when you foul up. I don't know about you, but I don't want any computer riding shotgun (i.e. front seat, passenger side). [ More...]

[10 August 2001 (Hot, Humid and Mostly Sunny... 95° @ 3:00pm [104° heat index]) top]

Week Ending 27 July 2001

Summer 2001 is Almost Over [bummer]
Summer vacation is not over, yet I'm already missing it.

I've learned a lot about computing this summer, but it has been a lot of effort and we have only scratched the surface of all there is to learn. With that being said, on Wednesday, 01 August 2001, I will be taking a ThurmTrip to the grasslands.

Connecting Cars to the Net
I read an article about how cool it is going to be when cars are connected to the Internet. I think cars connected to the Internet should be monitored for safe driving practices. I don't know why, but I had to write a tiny blurb about the Wired Car.

[27 July 2001 (Hot and Sunny... 108° @ 2:05pm) top]

Week Ending 20 July 2001

Napster Raised From the Dead
Napster's attorney said the company's new system was preventing 99.4 percent of copyrighted works from being traded on the system.

"We are approaching a system that has a zero rate of error," Napster told a judge. "And...according to what the engineers tell me, you'll never get to a zero because that would assume human perfection, and humans aren't perfect."

Napster's engineers are correct -- zero cannot be guaranteed. If it can, then Napster should crowned master of all computer companies on this planet and beyond. Many would start thinking of Napster as god.

The judge told Napster it was zero of nothing. From comes Judge Asks for the Impossible.

Update... an appeals court overruled the zero or nothing ruling. Wow... some common sense demonstrated -- how refreshing.

Here an NapsterStat for you.

Webnoize, another Internet research firm, reported in June that usage on Napster had shrunk to an average 1.5 songs shared per user, down from an average of 220 in February.

I've registered to be a Napster beta tester when the new legal version of Napster comes out [it is not hard -- just give them an email address]. It appears you will be able to use it for free while it is in beta testing, but I didn't look into any details.

Maybe We Should Become Anti-Microsoft
On Thursday, 19 July 2001, Microsoft reported solid gains in quarterly revenue and operating profit, but it also said it expected the personal computer business to worsen further this quarter. Microsoft is a corporate monster that generates lots of cash that it uses to increase shareholder value.

Sun Microsystems hates Microsoft and I suspect the opposite is true.

"Microsoft's next version of the Internet Explorer browser, set to ship with Windows XP, will no longer include a Java Virtual Machine. That means that Java applications will no longer run in the browser without the user downloading additional code. Additionally, Microsoft will treat mobile Java code the same way it handles viruses in IE and Outlook."

Maybe Microsoft treating mobile java code as a virus is good news. MS Outlook does a good job of letting viruses take control of your computer. The following would suck: Some mobile java hits your Windows machine and BAM your Windows is cracked. It is no longer your machine even though it may be in your house purchased with your own money.

From comes Microsoft: The Tonya Harding of Technology.

[20 July 2001 (Hot... 102° @ 4:12pm) top]

Week Ending 13 July 2001

Just For Fun
I just completed reading Linus Torvalds book Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary [great title]. I enjoyed the book and give it three out of five foos (stars). Here is a favorable review.

I found a small typographical error in Torvalds' book so just for fun I sent him this email (spam?) message. He has not replied.

For $18 and free shipping, you can get the book from

From Microsoft Word to Microsoft World
I'm hoping this is the last Microsoft posting for a while. is a national nonprofit organization that promotes using the Internet for grassroots citizen action campaigns, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues. The following whitepaper, albeit long, is an interesting read: How Microsoft is Building a Global Monopoly.

Friday the 13th
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[13 July 2001 (Hot... 104° @ 3:15pm) top]

Week Ending 06 July 2001

Blue Screen Of Death
We seem to be a Microsoft kick so we might as well continue that trend.

If you are a Windows user, then there is a good chance you have experienced the Blue Screen Of Death or BSOD. These days, many billboards are dynamically controlled by computers and amazingly some of the these computers are running Windows. Here a BSOD, there a BSOD.

Knuth on Programming
Donald Knuth may be the greatest computer scientist of all time.

"The first thing I would say is that when you write a program, think of it primarily as a work of literature. You're trying to write something that human beings are going to read. Don't think of it primarily as something that a computer is going to follow. The more effective you are at makeing your program readable, the more effective it's going to be: You'll understand it today, you'll understand it next week, and your successors who are going to maintain and modify it will understand it."
I'll extend Knuth's quote by saying that if you write good code, then you will be able to read it not only next week, but next year also. [ Don Knuth's Homepage]

It's Better to Burn Out...
... than fade away. I just discovered and it is a great website. It contains a bunch of live music that included rehearsal videos. Neil also provides video clips that show parts of his ranch that includes a recording studio and a building that contains archives of his work. It is amazing that one person could have produced so much stuff. [Neil's Broken Arrow ranch is located somewhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains which are south of SF and west of Stanford.]

[06 July 2001 (Finally some rain... humid... 90° @ 3:43pm) top]

ThurmHoliday: Independence Day [4th of July]

Week Ending 29 June 2001

How about a [cszero] Roundtable?
After attending the CPSR Activists Roundtable I've decided to try a [cszero] roundtable.

You can attend a roundtable without saying anything. When it came to group discussion at the CPSR roundtable, my mute button was clicked. I learned about a bunch of stuff from simply sitting there listening and observing.

The following are potential roundtable discussion topics:

Microsoft Will Not Be Split
Microsoft will not experience a breakup thanks to a unamimous federal Appeals Court. I back this decision. Microsoft is a publicly traded company and companies generally exist for one reason: to make money for shareholders. Microsoft has certainly done that. Year-to-date MSFT is up 67%.

[29 June 2001 (Sunny and hot... 110° @ 4:15pm) top]

Week Ending 22 June 2001

Microsoft Uses Open Source software...
... at least according to the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition. Microsoft does use Open Source code; it makes great sense in many cases. The hyperlink rotted [ThurmThanks to MarkR for alerting me.]

CPSR Activists Meeting
I am getting ready to leave for Palo Alto CA where I'll be attending the CPSR Activists Meeting on Saturday. Sunday and Monday are reserved for a short road trip into Mendocino County. I will issue a report on the CPSR meeting upon my return. [ email]

Put the Pedal to the Metal on Change
Freeway common sense; speed limit of 65 is a good idea for most of the Valley. This is the opinion of The Arizona Republic on 21 June 2001 [Happy Summer]. This is when you are glad to be an American living in the U.S.A. because I disagree with The Arizona Republic's opinion. People drive too fast and upping the speed limit is not going to help fix that problem. Someday a tailgater is going to do me in -- I'm convinced of that and that would upset me because I want to die on my own terms; not at the hands of somebody who becomes stupid when they drive.

I liked the way the newspaper ended its column:

"No one would think of making theft legal just because burglary rates were up."

"But when most drivers ignore a speed limit, it's time to look at changing the law."

The editoral staff's logic escapes me but that is because I'm a simple kind of man and I can drive 55 [or 65 these days]. Maybe the newspaper editors are James T. Kirk fans "If the fight isn't going your way, change the rules."

I want to introduce the newspaper's editorial staff to the Long Now Foundation.

[22 June 2001 (Overcast... 88° @ 5:51am) top]

ThurmHoliday: Father's Day

Week Ending 15 June 2001

Startup.Com -- the Movie -- the movie -- is playing this weekend at the Valley Art Theater in downtown Tempe. Saturday and Sunday show times are: 11:30am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 7:00pm and 9:20pm.

The movie is a documentary that introduces the people, stories and challenges behind the creation of an Internet business. At the core of the story are two lifelong friends who quit their day jobs to start this company. The film narrates the hardships they face in securing capital funding, and how it all comes crashing down. Review

Doonesbury Comic About Being Windows-Free
Microsoft is calling Open Source evil stuff these days. Size matters and Microsoft is huge. There have been reports about web traffic being down; Open Source drives the Internet; Microsoft uses this down cycle to scare users away from Open Source. I say foo to Microsoft and so does this Doonesbury Comic.

Red Hat Linux, Apache, Tomcat, PHP...
...JavaScript, Perl, DHTML, CSS, XHTML, XML, DOM, Solaris, BSD, vi, emacs, tcl, python, Java, C, C++, JSP, Servlets, CGI, Open Source, GNU Tools, WWW, make, CVS, HTTPS, XSL, XSLT, TCP/IP, DNS, Bind, Sendmail, Xlink, Xpath, Xql, Taglibs, and so on and so on. Do you feel overwhelmed with all the stuff there is to learn? Me, too -- I think I'll get over it by getting this foo T-shirt.

[15 June 2001 (100° @ 4:37pm) top]

ThurmHoliday: Flag Day

Week Ending 08 June 2001

Email spam Sucks... Hormel says SPAM (luncheon meat) Away
Hormel Foods -- the maker of SPAM -- has posted a message to its official SPAM website indicating it will no longer object to SPAM's double meaning as junk email.

Hormel is asking that the SPAM luncheon meat be written as SPAM (i.e. all upper case) and that junk email be written as spam (i.e. all lower case).

Later this summer [2001], a 20,000-square-foot SPAM museum is opening in Minnesota.

Hormel's SPAM Statement

ThurmBit::spam, spaM, spAM, sPAM, SPAM

About Constantly Changing Systems

During the [cszero] meeting on 05 June 2001 we complained about how systems automatically update themselves. I guess it is because I'm an old man unwilling to learn new stuff, but I don't like my system changing on me. Many changes occur to fix defects, but a side-effect is the generation of other defects. Sometimes these new defects are worse than the previous defects.

I am not alone. Here is a quote from somebody else.

The reason this precedent is so important is twofold. First, computer software is likely to move to a subscription model, with software houses downloading changes as needed, in the background, rather than the once-per-year model we have previously had. User may awake one morning to discover an ad appearing in the middle of their Save dialog (If you really want to Save, why not shop at Thorny's Discount Bait Shop?) with no means to revert. Second, upgradability is finding its way into other traditional products. Several stereo preamps and receiver manufacturers are trying to keep up with the explosion of multi-channel decoders by making them software upgradable. As home automation becomes more commonplace, everything from refrigerators to telephones may need periodic upgrades, particularly since, because of the 'as-is' phenomenon, the first release will almost always be defective. Unless people are protected from purposeful and involuntary downgrades in the usability of already-purchased products, we will see a deterioration of consumer rights unimagined before. Buyer Beware! is one thing, but how can you beware of what the manufacturer will do to damage or degrade your product years after you bought and paid for it?
This story can and will continue.

Some Perl Related Pearls
Perl is a great tool. We are currently doing some JavaScript programming [ validate.js and ctype.js]. Later this summer, the JavaScript code is going to be re-written in Perl.

Here a Thurman, There a Thurman

[08 June 2001 (it's a dry heat... 109° with 9% humidity @ 4:30pm) top]

Week Ending 01 June 2001

Upcoming [cszero::Learning About Computing] Meeting
There will be a cszero meeting on 05 June 2001 at 7:00pm in room CM-448 on the SCC campus. It is going to be a status meeting; however, a couple of our summer projects will be reviewed in some detail.

Old Guy is Only 36 Years Young
I sometimes read HTML Goodies by Paul Burns. He recently wrote this I'm an old guy lament. If you read Burns' piece and replace all occurrences of notepad with vi, then his lament could have been written by me. Burns is 36 years old -- if he's an old guy, then I'm a really old guy. [I turned 44 on 28 May 2001.] With the help of Neil Young, I want to tell Doctor Burns the following...

"Old guy take a look at my life, 44 and there's so much more."
Something that is helping us old guys stay young is that the computing world is learning about the benefits of using POT. [We must make it clear that POT is Plain-Old-Text. We initially started using POT when it stood for Plain-Old-Telephone.]

A Taste of Artichoke Lives
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[01 June 2001 (heading for 110 degrees; nothing but blue sky... 96° @ 10:11am) top]

ThurmHoliday: Memorial Day

Week Ending 25 May 2001

Spring 2001 MOTD Archived
I have archived the Spring 2001 MOTD postings. Although it is suffering from major linkrot, the MOTD Archive contains hyperlinks to some good stuff. If you have free time, then you may find the MOTD Archive interesting reading.

George W. Bush Speaks at Yale
Wow... Yale University gets U.S. President Bush to speak at their 2001 Commencement Ceremony. That must have been fun. President Bush shared some great quotes.

   "To those of you who received honors, 
   awards and distinctions, I say, well 
   done. And to the 'C' students, I say: 
   you too can be president."

   "A Yale degree is worth a lot, as I often 
   remind Dick Cheney. [Cheney dropped out 
   of Yale] If you graduate from Yale, you 
   become president. If you drop out, you 
   get to be vice president."

[25 May 2001 (Hot day -- 81° @ 7:15am) top]