Thursday, July 29, 2004

This land belongs to you and me. Requires flash.

How do you prevent the fox from guarding the henhouse.
For a democracy this is fairly important.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

And the winner is...

So? Do you think they'll get it all?
Will this turn his brown eyes blue?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

About those jobs.

How does $21k per person create a job? A low paying job for one year perhaps? Or a high paying job for a few months? Now if you had a million dollars distributed to 1000 people, it would not be a job, but it would be $100k income for life (assuming a 10% annual return.)

Personally, I don't want a job... I want those 8 hours a day back and the $100k per year for life. I'd figure out all sorts of useful things to do to stimulate the economy!

Banned in Boston... because they don't get it!

Monday, July 26, 2004

My wife is always asking me to send her resume here or there. Last night I had the brilliant idea of putting it online as a blog. It's not perfect, but now whenever she wants to send someone her resume she can just send the link or refer them to her page. I might even do this for myself.

Depression is always the result when I think about my past. I'm getting older and I'm not ready. I could die anytime, that's not a problem... the problem is living. I have yet to deal with all the trauma my life has forced upon me. I really, very sincerely, would like a 'Do Over.' Feelings have always been my downfall, or more specifically, empathy... If I could just say, "I don't give a flying Fuck!" and really mean it, my whole life would be a lot different, and definitely for the better.

I've had more than my fair share of chances in the past... but the future doesn't look so good. Once my wife can establish herself, she will leave me... We've discussed it and that's the plan... of course, she doesn't see the future clearly either and she worries... but not about me. The saddest thing is we could have a great life together, but she fights every thought of it. Well, I don't want to belabor that point.

Oh, and my boss says no raise for me... because she has to give other people raises first (may I see the schedule on that please?) You get what you settle for I guess. I wish I wasn't so old and fat and tired and sad... because the inclination to just say to hell with it, to hell with everybody and everything... who am I kidding? I going to do whatever harms the fewest around me... and suffer.

Another Berg(l)er bombshell

This is just vile.

via Rand

Blockade in September?

"My suspicion is, in September we'll really have evidence that Iran is lying through their teeth," [Former Justice Department prosecutor John] Loftus said. "We'll put in a naval blockade and without oil exports, in three weeks the economy of Iran will collapse and it will either be neutered or there will be a regime change from within."

Well, that's interesting!?

Friday, July 23, 2004

I had a thought along the same lines but this says it better.

This caught my eye...

Last month BusinessWeek published an interesting story about Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union, which included this observation:

In the U.S., Reagan's talk of the sinister nature of Communism was often dismissed as the rhetoric of a right-wing ideologue. In Moscow, policymakers believed he meant business. The Communist Party newspapers (of course, back then all of them were party newspapers) whipped themselves into a frenzy with invective about the 40th U.S. President. He was portrayed as a wild "cowboy," a "shameless liar," and "a rabid militarist" who employed the "slogans and methods of Hitler."

Sounds a lot like what the Democrats say now about President Bush. The analogy isn't perfect, of course: The Dems are a political party in a democracy, while the Soviet Union was a totalitarian empire. Still, perhaps the fate of the Soviet Union ought to give the Democrats pause.


I believe I agree.

"What is it with this guy and secrets? And delays in taking action, or telling his boss?" asks Instapundit regarding Sandy Berger.

That's an easy question. He's that species of shill that does nothing but is there to serve... those despicable so-called leaders that need his type to cover their steps.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A Bergler fer sure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The whole world watched.

I was ten. My (step-)dad was a civilian working in Viet Nam. It was the end of an age.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Putin consolidates his power.
...Kvashnin had paid the price for a tug-of-war with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Putin's confidant. The two have been competing for effective control of the military.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Summer Pulse not in a vacuum.
Winds of change demonstrates the need to consider all that is happening.

See the comments for a history lesson.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Obviously, Elton joins with Moore in misunderstanding what censorship is.

They've added a new editor to blogger.  It doesn't work right.   See how it screwed up my previous post when I tried to make a grammar correction.  Apparently it's putting hard breaks at the end of lines (that then become breaks before the end of the line.)
update: after 4 or 5 tries I was able to clean up the unwanted line breaks (I hope.)  Very annoying.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Ya just got to luv her.

While I don't agree with everything GWB is doing, you've got to wonder how the loonies can embrace somebody like Wilson. I think it's a lack of critical thinking and absolutely no perspective. My favorite niece is 17 and although she is a fine young lady, her education by American schools shows. My step-son is 14 and is much more able to reason (although he doesn't seem to use it much when it counts.) You could blame them for accepting the information they are fed, but that doesn't account for the whole problem. GWB says he wants to improve education... perhaps he should do it the way RR improved air traffic control?

I can't find the quote, but it's said that if Americas school system was imposed on us by others it would be considered an act of war. It's not about the money. It's about the attitude. School should be considered a privilege and not a right. If a student can't behave in class the teacher should be able to send them to the principle without an argument and have the right to refuse returning them to the class.  The teacher must be able to maintain disciple and not live in fear of
the students. Administrations need to support the teachers, they are the front line troops. Parents should have choice as to where they send their children so that schools compete for dollars given for each student.

Schools should be part of the competitive marketplace and allowed to fail, so that better schools can take their place. Red tape needs to be abolished. Now, I could have thrown in a little profanity in the above (it could use the punch) but that's not my style (not that I have any.) However, I've been angry about this subject since I left grade school a quarter century ago. I'd even recommend going back to the one room school house where the teachers taught Latin and Calculus along with a solid perspective on history. Can we not find such competence today?

If only...
...I had the time to figure out trivial things like how to automatically rotate my taglines.
...I could develop the kind of thick skin that allowed me to be the inconsiderate bastard some accuse me of being when in fact I am just the opposite.
...I had something nice to eat for lunch instead of posting to my blog... well, I do have a nice cup of water but all that's left is the crushed ice. It's great not to be living in caves.

Software Law
A buddy at work sent me this article because he knows my thoughts on patents of software is more in line with this article which considers software to be a form of writing.

I absolutely hate plagiarizing which the dictionary defines as... "to pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own." I even had a traumatic experience in the 5th grade when the class was assigned to do various reports and I saw all the other students copying verbatim from the encyclopias. The idea of trying to pass off someone elses ideas as your own struck me viscerally at that tender age. But patents go even further and have a more intense effect.

As this article points out, the effect of patenting software is to create scofflaws... which one day, if it hasn't already, put government and a few large corporations (or small corps wanting to get rich off large corps without contributing anything to society) against a legion of programmers that are creative and rebellious and definitely deserving of a little more respect (ok, respect may be more of a personal issue? I haven't had it since I was a wee baby programmer in diapers.)

Programmers share ideas. Even if they don't directly, software must be maintained and ideas are shared when that happens. Programmers also change jobs quite often. Some say it's even because changing jobs facilitates this educational process. Although programmers generally have good memories (I used to be able to edit 50,000 lines of code in my head, but no more... perhaps because now projects have a million and up lines of code?) We can't remember where every idea came from (usually a mixture of our own creativity and things we've learned along the way) and we absolutely can't be expected to know all prior art. It's ridiculous. Laws are meant to protect the little guys from the more powerful big guys (you may disagree, but I say the big guys can protect themselves and have no devine right to remain the only big guys or even big guys at all.)

Software, like poker, is inherently fair... everyone gets to play with what they bring to the table, but patents drastically change the rules in the middle of the game. As well as harming the greater good.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

History is one of the most important and neglected subjects. In this age of spin and double-talk, what will history say of us?

My wife picked up my backup computer from my sister yesterday. Today I added my wireless router to the chain of devices going to my work computer. I've got a 3rd computer which my son used, but it's got a blown hard drive, so he's going to use my work backup computer... not an ideal situation. I think I'm going to have to get another box, but with my limited allowance?

My wife is out looking for a job now. ...actually, she just came home...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I guess I'm only firing on one cylinder these days. It never occured to me that I would have to go through a new install procedure for my DSL at the new house (and I never remember passwords.) I got a good technician and the process was relatively painless. So I can be at work today without my boss asking me all sorts of intrusive questions for coming in late.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

We just moved into a new house and my wife has no job. It is impossible for me to abandon her in that situation. I am not a rich man. I need to change my life, but I still have to manage the logistics of it. My resolve is still firm and I am committed (friends might suggest that I should be committed?) Sometimes I find it hard to breath.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I can't concentrate. Now that I've made a decision that goes completely against my nature, I am a wreck. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing regardless of how much it hurts. In the end it will be better for everyone... but there will be suffering until then.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Today I made a decision. I will be getting a divorce. This time I will not unmake the decision. There is nothing more to say.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I hate to get into the middle
My brother-in-laws laptop is back, but still doesn't connect to the network. They paid over a $100 for the tech. guy to reinstall his s/w from the disks that came with the laptop. This I'd already done before they took it to the tech. What I didn't do was FDISK the machine to insure a clean partition so some malicious code would not remain. We used to even do a low level format (which I don't think anyone but the manufacturers do anymore) to start with a fresh slate.

I spoke with the tech. guy before he even started on the repair. I asked him only one thing, please test the wireless connection before calling it good. Since my brother-in-laws wireless router is totally using default parameters it should have fired up correctly when he got it home. It didn't.

Now my dilemna? I could fix the problem, but that takes the tech. guy, which they paid real money to, off the hook. I'm not going to do that. My bro. has access to the internet thru my backup box, which I might just give them because it's obvious they need it, but aren't going to buy one... they'd rather give money to a guy that isn't going to fix their problems, but because he has a storefront... ???

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I hate spyware!

Two days ago I cleaned everything off my backup box (which I'm using at my sister's house until my DSL is on at the new house) using the lavasoft product. Today I've got 55 more items to remove and corrupted files, which requires a reboot to correct. I would love a firmware product that kept the browser safely in ROM and would flush RAM on the push of a reset switch.

If I couldn't find something like this off the shelf (I haven't looked yet)... In theory I could make one myself modifying open source software but it would be quite a project.

I hate these guys that don't respect boundaries.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

These former evil dictators really crack me up.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Berylium Oxide is a powder, that when breathed can turn some peoples lungs into the equivalent of a brick, thus shortening their lives. When the material itself is pressed into bricks and fired in a kiln, Berylium Oxide is a translucent ceramic which is useful for electronic substrates among other things. When I worked with the manufacturer (and I believe there is only one, whereas other materials are used by other companies for the same purposes) that developed machined products from this material, I had a taste of life among engineers and machinists. My job was to write code that made machines work. Some of that was CNC code, but more often is was compiled code in a PC that would sense and control a variety of devices through a serial connection. This was in the late 1980s when many devices that were normally just mechanical (like a micrometer or a precision scale) were just coming out with digital ports. In other cases, I'd come up with a contraption that used Analog-to-Digital (A/D) conversions to read or set voltages to accomplish a task.

Reading this interesting article gives you the feel for what it's like to live in an engineers world. The everyday world of most people, doesn't acknowledge tolerances and feedback loops. Instead it's closer to the Aristotelian common sense vision of the world where things just are and you don't think about them much. Which is ironic, since Aristotle did happen to think alot about his environment. He probably would make a good engineer in todays world.

Apparently Steven worked with a higher caliber of engineers than I did (of this there is no doubt) or better quality of company (again, no doubt at all) since in my world, I was held accountable for making things work that were purchased from vendors that didn't seem to have a high priority in meeting specifications. At least we did have specifications (which seems ever more rare in the mom and pop software companies I work for in recent years) but it's interesting that the vendors were not held accountable for not meeting them?

In one case we had these two inch square, 25 mils thick ceramics that we made for a stellar sensor; part of some navigation electronics. Each of these 400ths of an inch thick wafers sold for about $5000 each. The thickness was the important tolerance and this outside vendor had built a machine that would position the ceramic so that 4 points inside the edges of each corner were positioned between two led distance sensors. Using 4 A/Ds and a single RS232 port my job was to collect the measurements and generate some production reports. It was a nightmare. No, not because of talking to four devices using a point to point protocol. That was the easy part, and I enjoyed making that work.

The point is that the sensors were about ten times less precise than we needed to do the job. I found that I could not get a power supply regulated tightly enough to get good readings. I had to use batteries, but they faded too quickly, so the machine could never be held in tolerance for more than one or two readings. Then there was the problem that they were trying to read distance by bouncing light off a translucent material... at 25 mils the two opposing sensors could see and would interfere with each other! This could be somewhat controlled by adjusting the distance between the sensors. They still interfered with each other, but it could then be accounted for in the measurement calculation.

If I had a good lawyer at the time, I probably could have sued them for the result working for them had on my life. I gained 110 lbs. entirely due to the stress of the job in about 14 months. The quality of my life has been poor ever since, I've gained more weight and my life expectancy has been shortened. But of course it's all my fault and I should stop whining about it, right? Well, I agree to a point, but I've got a theory about it...

Where you go depends on two things... where you start and how hard you work at it. Luck, of course, is the third factor that can't very well be considered. I once considered the idea that a parent should be required to post a bond to have a child. Depending on the rate of return, if you saved $100 a month for a childs life you could present them with about $100k when they turned twenty. That $100k would then produce about enough income to finance the next generations grub stake. Kids that married at twenty would have $200k to start their lives with. Then when determining what to do in your life, desperation would not be such a critical factor (and employers could not exploit their employees so well because of it.) I'd also eliminate the minimum wage... let it find it's natural level.

Almost all of my life has been lived in desperation. If I hadn't married, I wouldn't be in such a state today, but I did and I am. People think I'm crazy to take care of a wife that doesn't love me (and doesn't work with me to reach financial goals) and her teenage son. But it's not their decision to make, it's mine and really, they should keep their opinions to their selves. But they don't.

So I've made bad decisions, I've lived with no safety net, and I don't have the strength to make it out of the hole I'm stuck in... but I keep working at it... like the ant being chased by the antlion.

I do count my blessings. I have a job. I live near my sister that loves me. I have not fallen into the pits of despair (but I can see them from here!)

Friday, July 02, 2004

Firefox to the rescue. The techs still have my bros. laptop, but he was able to pay his bills using the Mozilla browser (IE has been crashing on me) on my computer. My wife is still hitting the yard sales. Yes, I think she likes Sacramento.

If you don't mind the Spiderman spoilers, you might be interested in the analogy to our war on terror.

Last week we sent one or two dozen stealth fighter-bombers to South Korea. Now this. I wonder if something is up?

We have 13 Carriers, but this isn't one of them...
It's one of our little Carriers used to get Marines where they are needed.

Does anybody know about the F/A-25A's...

My brother-in-law has reached the limit of his frustration level with the laptop that's been hijacked by spyware. I'm using one of my backup PCs from his house to work (I work out-of-state by remote access) because of moving this last weekend to a new house. My wife is out checking the yard sales as I write this. Anyway, because of my impoverished h/w and s/w condition, I find I'm missing a link in every possible chain that could fix his laptop.

I can get the s/w needed to fix his machine onto my machine, but have no way to transfer it to his. My CD burner is kaput and his laptop doesn't have a floppy drive. His email isn't working and he can't get to the internet so I'm done and he's frustrated... he just left with the laptop under his arm to have it serviced.

I'm going to recommend he get a cheap $300 computer with a wireless NIC (network interface card) to ensure that he always has email and internet access. I'd then make a ghost backup of both his systems so he'd always have a way to conduct the business of his life (paying bills online and such) without having to worry about any downtime nightmares.

I do like the wireless router... it makes things so much simpler, although other issues might arise from giving the neighborhood an access point?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Comparing what that lying film says to what Actually happened.

Saudi citizens in this country had reason to fear a backlash after 9-11 (which did occur to a limited extent) and officials both in Saudi Arabia and this country took action to protect them. Is that so hard to understand?

Then you have a list of Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 911.

Slept in the new house in Sacramento last night... and it is a new house, we get to be the first ones to live in it... how long will our dings and dents be a part of it's history? The layout is much better than the apartment we came from, my wife is enthusiastic, but how can I tell her I've lived in much nicer places? I guess I should keep my mouth shut about that. One day, I hope to live in a place that fits.

This morning I drove to my sisters, where I set up a backup connection to my work. I should have my network connection up in the new home in a week or two. On my commute I saw a white pickup truck on highway 99 with the front end in six foot flames. The fire engine was there and traffic was backed up behind it. What amazed me was that with such a spectacular display of flames, the rubberneckers on my side of the highway didn't cause a huge slowdown.

I'll be checking out the blogging on Saturn this morning, particularly what people think of sending Cassini thru the rings? If some stray pebble had broken something? Looks like their risk paid off. Will some new science geek become a 15 minute hero? Don't know.

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