MOTD::Archive::Summer 2007 (18 August 2007)

Spring 2007 MOTD

Week Ending 18 August 2007

RoadHacker::Maine Via Boston
We flew to Boston and took a 4-day, 760 mile, 4-lobster roll, roadtrip into Maine. We used Bangor to get to/from Mt. Desert Island and we did some driving on US Hwy-1.

RoadHacker:: Maine Via Boston

GDT::Fall Semester 2007 Begins
The Fall Semester for 2007 has started. I begin my 10th year of being an instructor at SCC with my worst schedule ever. I'm looking forward to doing a 5-credit version of a beginning Algebra class and it should be fun doing a computer class again.

MOTD::Summer Break 2007 MOTD Has Been Archived
This is the final posting for the Summer Break 2007 MOTD. MOTD version 31 has been created to support Fall Semester 2007.

[18 August 2007 (spring break 2007 is history; 89° at 6:10am) top]

Week Ending 11 August 2007

Computing::I Didn't Know the FSF Had Moved
I was in Boston on 10 August 2007 and stopped at 59 Temple to visit the Free Software Foundation. I was dropping in hoping they would give me some swag for next month's Software Freedom Day. I learned on this visit the Free Software Foundation is no longer in the 59 Temple building. These days the FSF's postal address is the 5th floor of the 51 Franklin Street building. Upon returning home I used to find how far away from the FSF office we were and couldn't find Franklin Street.

RoadHacker::Western Colorado
My son Tyler and I completed a 1,169 mile roadtrip through western Colorado using Denver as a hub. The roadtrip included visits to two national parks, three national monuments, the Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak, Seven Falls and the town of Cripple Creek. It also included driving on US Hwy-40, US Hwy-50, CO Hwy-139, the Dinosaur Diamond and Gold Belt Scenic Byways.

RoadHacker:: Western Colorado (West of the I-25 Corridor)

[11 August 2007 (back to school next week; 94° at 10:10am) top]

Week Ending 04 August 2007

Computing::Hacker Usage in "What the Dormouse Said"
I started using the term "hacker" in character names (RoadHacker, FoodHacker, LitterHacker) not because I am a hacker, but because I wanted to maintain and restore the positive connotations that are attached to the title of "hacker."

The following is from the book "What the Dormouse Said" by John Markoff.

   "The meaning of the term 'hacker' changed beginning in the 
    early 1990s, when it came to refer to teenagers who used 
    modems to break into computers. Originally the term was 
    used to describe a group of almost exclusively young men 
    who were passionate in their obsession with computing and 
    computers.  This book uses the term in its original sense."

People who use computers to commit crimes are crackers. General rule of thumb: Hackers good; crackers bad.

Technology::RFID is Front-Page News
The Arizona Republic had a long story about RFID and that prompted me to see how much I've written about RFID over the last few years.

   Arizona Republic; Sunday, 22 July 2007
   Lots of print allocated to RFID.
   Front-page title:  "Microchips implanted in workers"

   Initial ADSX ("RFID for people") purchase:  11 December 2001
   [ADSX is the stock symbol for Applied Digital Solutions]

   Search GDT for "RFID" -- 69 hits  (discussed in CSC180,MAT082,MAT102)

   BAB collection #6 (of 33 as of 22 July 2007)
   11 RFID BABs; 2 in 2005, 8 in 2006, 1 in 2007
   1st RFID BAB created 4 October 2005

Most of the students I have these days have never heard of RFID.

Technology::What's Up In Gilbert, Arizona?
I posted the following comment to Cindy Hernandez's blog. Cindy was questioning Gilbert's city government allocation of funds to attract sports to Gilbert.

   posted by Gerald9588  on Jul 22, 2007 at 06:26 PM 

   I'm clueless as to what Gilbert is doing from a computing, 
   biotech, nanotech, robotics perspective.  I suspect not 
   much; therefore, they might as well do sports. 

EDU::I Found It Funny
The Tempe Republic did a piece titled "Meet Tempe district's new principals." One of the questions asked of all the principals was: "What is the most important lesson being an educator has taught you?" One principal--with 22 years in education--responded with: "The most important lesson I have learned is to embrace data."

[04 August 2007 (heading for Maine on Monday night; 90° at 6:15am) top]

Week Ending 28 July 2007

Computing::Hewlett-Packard Acquires Opsware
I was to sad to learn that Hewlett-Packard is acquiring Opsware. I've been writing an Opsware short story for almost ten years and now I can write the final chapter. HP made an excellent buy and Opsware made some investors lots of money. Now we wait to see if goes public.

RoadHacker::Colorado West of the I-25 Corridor
Tyler and RoadHacker successfully completed a 1169 mile roadtrip of Colorado west of the I-25 corridor. RoadHacker came home with about 450 pictures and now work begins on writing the roadtrip report.

TempeHiker::Tempe and Phoenix
TempeHiker has updated his website with the following wanderings.

[28 July 2007 (posted on a Sunday morning; 79° at 6:28am) top]

Week Ending 21 July 2007

Computing::What The Dormouse Said
The following are two notes from the book "What the Dormouse Said" by John Markoff.

Chapter 1: The Prophet and the True Believers (page 4)
   John Markoff wrote:
   "A dreamy engineer with a mind of his own, Doug Engelbart was 
    not an easy person to control.  He had joined the group in 1957, 
    and though he recognized that he had to earn his keep by working 
    on SRI projects, he arrived with own agenda: a scheme for building 
    a machine to 'augment' human intelligence."
Chapter 5: Dealing Lightning (page 148)
   John Markoff wrote:
   "On December 9, 1968, the oNLine System was shown publicly to the
    world for the first time. [...] In one stunning ninety-minute 
    session, he [Engelbart] showed how was possible to edit text 
    on a display screen, to make hypertext links from one electronic 
    document to another, and to mix text and graphics, and even video 
    and graphics.  He also sketched out a vision of an experimental 
    computer network to be called ARPAnet and suggested within a 
    year he would be able to give the same demonstration remotely 
    to locations across the country."

Computing::Needs To Be Sexy
We need to get kids excited about computing and I'm not talking about high-school students. High-school aged students are *not* kids.

   "America's kids have concluded that infotech is a dead-end field for 
    nerd losers, and they're avoiding it like last month's ringtone."

Corporate America is going to have to play a whole role in turning young people onto computing.

   "Companies big and small desperately need well-rounded IT experts, 
    and that's a huge opportunity for young people and for the country." Turning our backs on tech

Computing::GDT is a FSF Member
I became an Associate Member of the Free Software Foundation on 16 July 2007. I don't know why I waited so long to join the FSF, but that's now moot. I am currently a member of the following organizations: ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility), EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the FSF (Free Software Foundation).

RoadHacker::Summer Roadtrip #2
Next week Tuesday, my son and I are doing a 5-day fly/drive roadtrip using Denver as a hub. The roadtrip includes visits to three national parks, two national monuments, and some more driving on US Hwy-50.

RoadHacker:: Colorado West of the I-25 Corridor

[21 July 2007 (summer break more than half over; 83° at 5:02am) top]

Week Ending 14 July 2007

Computing::ACM Member Since November 1998
I renewed my ACM membership for another year; it now expires in July of 2008. I've been an ACM member for almost a decade. I was an ACM member for a few years when I first started working. I returned the ACM a year after I switched into teaching.

Computing/EDU::I Almost Hit the Send Key
I almost posted the following email message to the intranet.

   I was looking at CSC enrollments district-wide and they are 
   virtually zero.  We are attempting to get one section of 
   CSC100 to make at SCC and that's looking like it probably 
   won't happen.  

   Starting this fall, SCC's math department has a new Head and 
   the school has a new Dean of Instruction.  CSC at SCC is currently 
   in a zombie-state--my question for the group is the following: 
   Is CSC dead within the MCCCD?

   Given the MCCCD is supposedly one of the largest community college 
   systems in the United States it is downright scary that we have no 
   Computer Science students.  

   Is anything happening to boost CSC enrollments that I'm not aware of?

   Given the lack of computing students, does it make sense to have 
   CSC and CIS?

Maybe I'll change my mind and send the email message sometime next week. is a Great Resource (RTA) has the motto: "Life's a journey. Take the scenic route!" RTA has been up and running for over ten years and it is an excellent roadtripping resource. I've been doing some roadtripping advising on the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

Foo::Ignoring Y2K Again
Last week ended on 7/7/07. This week ended on 7/7+7/07 and next week will end on 7/7+7+7/07 and the week after that will end on 7/7+7+7+7/07.

[14 July 2007 (monsoon is late arriving, AM weather today; 91° at 5:47am) top]

Week Ending 07 July 2007

Computing::One Less Domain Name
I have decided to shutdown the website; consequently, I am not going to renew the domain name. The content currently at will be incorporated into the website.

Computing::Speaking of Art
Ron Floyd is an "Artist, Art Professor, and President of the East Valley Art Guild." Ron is also a blogger at On 4 July 2007, Floyd posted an item titled "Will Google Kill Creativity?" The title caught my attention and it prompted me to comment.

   Ron Floyd wrote: "[...] but in this day of digital cameras, 
   how hard is it to take an original picture of a tree."

   It can be extremely "hard" with respect to time and money. 
   One must get to the tree in order to take a picture of it. 

   Ron Floyd wrote: "So, maybe, Google is not killing creativity, 
   maybe technology is the guilty party."

   So, maybe, the artists of the 21st century will be those that 
   are the most creative with technology.  [Note: My use of the 
   term "technology" has to do with supercomputing-based Informatics 
   and high-performance/productivity visualization systems.] Will Google Kill Creativity?

RoadHacker::Bisbee, Naco, Douglas...
Thanks to the Shady Dell and Evergreen Cemetery, Bisbee is now one of my favorite Arizona towns.

RoadHacker:: Shady Dell and Evergreen Cemetery in Bisbee [opens new window]

[07 July 2007 (we got some rain yesterday; 91° at 5:55am) top]

Week Ending 30 June 2007

EDU::Textbook Costs
Why now? Textbook costs have been an issue for MCCCD students for the last decade. Why has it take the MCCCD ten years to step up to the plate on this issue? The bottom-line: they've stepped to the plate, but they won't swing the bat. The MCCCD blames the publishers; I blame the faculty.

   "Textbook pricing is a subject that has rankled college 
    and university students across the country for years."

And faculty I might add. Maricopa Colleges Lessen Impact of Textbook Costs

RoadHacker::Summer Road Trip #1
It took over a month, but I have finally finished documenting the 5-day roadtrip I took to start off the Summer 2007 break. The fly/drive roadtrip used Denver as a hub and it included drives through the grasslands of Colorado, the sand hills of Nebraska, the plains of Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle.

RoadHacker:: Colorado Grasslands, Nebraska Sandhills and Kansas Plains [opens new window]

[30 June 2007 (posted on Monday, July 2nd; 85° at 6:40am) top]

Week Ending 23 June 2007

Computing::Marc Andreessen on VC
Andreessen quoted somebody saying: "Out of ten swings at the bat, you get maybe seven strikeouts, two base hits, and if you are lucky, one home run. The base hits and the home runs pay for all the strikeouts." He made the following comment about quote: "They don't get seven strikeouts because they're stupid; they get seven strikeouts because most startups fail, most startups have always failed, and most startups will always fail." Marc Andreessen's Blog

Math::Two BARS and One BAB
I visited my parents in Joliet this weekend to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday. I came home with material to create two BARS and one BAB.

[23 June 2007 (posted on Monday, June 25th; 83° at 5:48am) top]

Week Ending 16 June 2007

GDT::About Nursing
I sent the following "Letter to the Editor" to the Arizona Republic on Friday, 15 June 2007.

   There has been a dearth of women in computing since its
   conception.  "Women in computing" could be considered 
   an oxymoronic phrase.  A similar story could be said 
   for "men in nursing."

   I have to believe that 21st century nursing is
   vastly different than nursing of years past. I
   saw a slide presented by Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, 
   director of the School of Computing and Informatics 
   at Arizona State University, that depicted a 
   stethoscope with a computer mouse attached to
   it and a pill whose contents were zeros and ones.

   When it comes to 21st century nursing, I propose 
   we stop calling it "nursing" and name it something 
   different.  Changing the name might just cause some 
   boys to think about becoming nurses when they grow 
   up.  Heck, it might even cause some grown men to 
   consider re-careering into nursing.

EDU::"News" on
The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) sent out an email message telling us to read the "new" from the Press Room on The following three headlines were given.

   "Phoenix College Offers English Immersion"
   "South Mountain Offers Spanish for Translators and Interpreters"
   "Scottsdale Golfers Win Championship"

Kudos to the SCC golfers, but I'm not sure these headlines are all that newsworthy.

One month ago, the MCCCD aborted their effort to find a new president of Mesa Community College. Chancellor Glasper wrote: "With the best of intentions, we knew from the beginning that our timeframe was ambitious. While a compressed timeframe can work in some cases, it did not prove to serve our needs at MCC." Glasper is correct. The MCCCD used a "compressed timeframe" when they gave him the chancellorship and that was a mistake.

RoadHacker::Days 2 and 3 of Grasslands Roadtrip
I simply don't like how a summer class is effectively a form of grounding. It has taken me over a month to complete a roadtrip report and I still have two days to go.

[16 June 2007 (three weeks down, two to go; 83° at 5:52am) top]

Week Ending 09 June 2007

Computing::Google VP of People Operations on Immigration
The following quotes were copied from BusinessWeek Online. The quotes are from Laszlo Bock, Vice-President for People Operations at Google, Inc. Bock's quotes are from immigration testimony that he gave to Congress.

   "The fact is that we are in a fierce worldwide competition 
    for top talent unlike ever before. As companies in India, 
    China, and other countries step up efforts to attract highly 
    skilled employees, the United States must continue to focus 
    on attracting and retaining these great minds."

Many people have claimed that working at Google is like working at the United Nations.

   "Immigrants from countries like Canada, Iran, and Switzerland 
    now lead our business operations, global marketing, global 
    business development, and data infrastructure operations."

Google was co-found by Sergey Brin. Brin was born on 21 August 1973.

   "Sergey's parents fled the Soviet Union in 1979 when he 
    was six. A first-generation American, he is now one of 
    the most successful entrepreneurs in the world."

Google just recently opened a second center of operations in Israel.

   "However, many of our core products are created and improved here 
    in the U.S., and we believe that worker satisfaction is higher 
    when employees can work in the location they prefer.  Being able 
    to have H-1B visa holders remain in the U.S., building our products 
    and expanding our business, also translates into more jobs and 
    greater economic growth here at home."

How ironic--Bock, an immigrant, speaking to the U.S. Congress on the controversial topic of immigration.

   "I will take a moment to note, Madam Chair, that I, too, am an 
    immigrant to America. My parents came here when they fled 
    communist Romania when I was a child. My mother is here with 
    me today. I cannot begin to tell you what a proud moment this 
    is for her--and a humbling one for me. Under the Ceausescu 
    dictatorship, she could not have dreamed of her son testifying 
    before a committee of the United States Congress."

There is talk about immigration transitioning into a meritocracy; immigration into the U.S. based on merit instead of the womb.

After a short discussion about immigration with another person, I realized that my editorial comment about not all wombs being equal needs elaboration. When time permits, I will expand on "merit-based" immigration using a GDT::Speaks.

RoadHacker::Denver CO to Scottsbluff NE
Because I am doing a 5-week summer course, it is taking a long time to document my 4-night roadtrip to Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. I decided to turn into five separate slideshows--one for each day. Day one has been completed.

RoadHacker:: Grasslands of Colorado and Scottsbluff Nebraska [opens new window]

[09 June 2007 (we've had amazingly cool June weather; 76° at 6:37am) top]

Week Ending 02 June 2007

Computing::The ACM Turns 60
The Communications of the ACM for May 2007 (Volume 50, Number 5) was about "ACM at Sixty: A look back in time." The "Viewpoint" section was "The Rime of the Ancyent Programmer" by Stephen B. Jenkins.

The "rime" started with...

   "There was ancyent programmer,
    a hacker proud was he,
    and though well past his prime, he knew
    a thing or two or three."

   "His hair was in a ponytail,
    his bushy beard gone gray,
    his face lined with years of toil,
    and this he had to say:"

My access to the computing world is enabled by Unix systems. And the following verse was a favorite.

   "Those first few years I worked in C,
    but soon I learned that knack
    of using scripting languages
    and never have looked back."

I have advocated that BASH makes an excellent introductory programming language given the student knows how to use BASH as a command-line interpreter.

Jenkins ultimately found Perl.

   "The language, it was Perl, of course,
    I took to right away,
    It was such fun, to get things done,
    that work seemed more like play,"

Jenkins also found Linux and Open Source, but let's jump to the last verse of 53 versus.

   "I know the old programmer well;
    so well, because you see...
    that bearded, balding, code hacker
    is none other than me."

Thank You Stephen B. Jenkins for writing your "rime" and Thank You to the ACM for printing it in the May 2007 edition of the Communications of the ACM.

Stocks::What a Week
During the week just ended, the S&P 500 index made an all-time high. It took seven years for the index to get back to its previous record high set on 24 March 2000. The Nasdaq was still almost 50% below its all-time high.

[02 June 2007 (I might never do a summer class again; 79° at 5:50am) top]

Memorial Day 2007

[28 May 2007; top]

Week Ending 26 May 2007

EDU::What is a High-Tech Workforce?
I don't think the Maricopa Community Colleges include computer programming as being part of the high-tech workforce. Why? Because if they did, then I probably would have heard something about them getting a $300,000 NSF Grant work on high-tech workforce development. Maricopa Colleges Receive $300,000 NSF Grant for High-Tech Workforce Development

Computing::Best Muchies While Coding
Slashdot conduct a poll wanting to know the "best muchies for coding?" The choices were limited to "potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, pizza pockets, popcorn, nanchos and salsa, cheetos and neal mix." As of "Thu May 24 06:51:14 MST 2007" the outcome was too close to call with pretzels #1 at 17%, nachos and salsa #2 at 16% and pizza pockets #3 at 15%. I cannot visualize eating chips and salsa while coding. What's neal mix? Best munchies for coding?

Math::BARS from Grasslands, Sand Hills, Plains Roadtrip
RoadHacker's 5-day 1,344 mile roadtrip during the early part of Summer Break 2007 resulted in the creation of two regular BABs, 18 BARS, 11 prime numbered highway signs and 10 square numbered highway signs. The signs were from Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

GDT::BAB::BARS::Collection:: Grasslands, Sand Hills, Plains Roadtrip

RoadHacker and TempeHiker

[26 May 2007 (I might get to Maine this summer; 74° at 6:21am) top]

Week Ending 19 May 2007

GDT::Spring 2007 MOTD Archived
This is the first posting for the 30th edition of the MOTD. The Spring 2007 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

Math::1,000 BAB Created
On 20 May 2007, the 1,000th BAB (Basic Arithmetic Bit) was created. The 1,000th BAB was about being the 1,000th BAB. 219 BABs were created during the Spring 20007 semester. On 21 May 2007, 19 BABs had been created during the Summer 2007 break.

GDT::BAB:: BABs Created During Summer 2007 Break

RoadHacker::Farmer John Mural in Tucson
RoadHacker spent a night in Tucson and he used the visit to get pictures of the Farmer John Meats mural located on the north-side of town.

RoadHacker:: Farmer John Meats Mural in Tucson, Arizona [opens new window]

[21 May 2007 (rare Monday MOTD posting; 75° at 5:53am) top]

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

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