Wednesday, August 31, 2005

R & R

I'll be gone for a few days. It's time for me to restart the tradition of going to the Old Thresher's Reunion in Mt. Pleasant Iowa. I can't promise posts while I'm gone, but I'll be sure to get some pictures and post them later on.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

"Giving government money and power is like giving car keys and whiskey to a teenage boy"

- P.J. O'Rourke

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Drill

I'm thinking about buying a new drill. The only problems are, it only drills .223" diameter holes and it's probably banned in Cook County.

Can I buy you a drink?

I knew that beer goggles were real, but I didn't know about this.

Water on Mars

Scientists have now discovered water on Mars.

I don't see what the big deal is.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'm not F***ing kidding!

Some people are embarrassed about coming from a certain area or a certain town. That's probably nothing compared to the way people in this F***ing town.

I'll let this article stand by itself.

Vroom, Vroom!

I'm not really big on spending time in the kitchen. I do enjoy cooking, but that's mostly because I enjoy the end result. That could change though if I started getting more kitchen gadgets like THIS. I'd say 500 to 20,000 rpm and a 900 Watt Motor is definitely something to get excited about.

Star Wars - Where are they now

The other day something odd occurred to me. Now that George Lucas has completed his 6 Star Wars movies, what will happen to all of the star wars characters. I don't really think the world can take another 3 movies, and star wars characters surely can't survive just by appearing conventions for the rest of their lives. So what are they doing now?

Let's take a look!

Mace Windu was recently spotted by a photographer and he is apparently training in an attempt to make the majors next season. No word yet on whether or not he will be able to continue using his lightsaber-bat.

Some of the Key figures in recent trilogy did a brief tour promoting star wars related merchandise. Sadly, work like this dried up very quickly.

Obi Wan, noticing that his royalty payments were shrinking, went on a far reaching campaign to stamp out piracy.

Going back to Episode I, Darth Maul attempted to work briefly in advertising. The campaign for milk, however, scared more people than it enticed. I understand he is currently negotiating a contract to advertise "half-n-half" instead. I think that's a bit more fitting.

Also from Episode I, Qui Gon Jinn, decided to cash in on his fame and change his name so he could become the official spokesman of a new high end liquor.

Various jedi have also put their training to use in the dance studio and started advertising a new line of ipods.

I imagine master Yoda could see this coming a mile away. Darth Vader, down and out, has really found himself on hard times. After all, what career can bounce back from killing the emperor, his one and only supporter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Yes I've not taken the time to update this in a little while. Just hold on until the weekend and I'll have some new posts.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Guess what everyone, it's FRIDAY!

This week is toast, and so is this link. No really! Apparently there is one more appliance that can now be computerized.

For some reason this reminds me of a joke... (apologies to all computer scientists out there)

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"

One advisor, an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" The engineer replied, "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype."

The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years."

"With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard- boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelet classes."

"The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs."

"Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too."

"We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX v.8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook."

"Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design
phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the
implementation phase. An Intel 80386 with 8MB of memory, a 30MB hard disk, and a VGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap. (Imagine the difficulty we would have had if we had foolishly allowed a hardware-first design strategy to lock us into a four-bit microcontroller!)."

The king wisely had the computer scientist beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

It sounds like some of you could use a little pick me up, so here's a quote that I find rather inspirational line from one of my favorite historical figures. I guess this kind of goes along with the "Reflections" post I did earlier.

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fun times

For those who didn't make it to this weekend's should feel guilty! OK, just kidding. I had a good time, I just wish I had seen more people.

Of course Bo will no doubt be back from time to time which should provide a good excuse for folks to hang out.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 05, 2005


For those of you I haven't told...Bo is back in Chicagoland. In his honor there will be a get-together on Sunday. The plan is to meet at Buckingham Fountain at noon and then decide where to go and what to do (Meeting time is between noon and 12:30)

Time to catch my flight now...Hope to see you there


While I'm rushing back to Chicago why don't you check out this little link. I'm wondering if this little trick will actually work. Of course using this casually would be irresponsible but if it works it'll be really nice for those times when you don't have a second to spare.


I've been neglecting the blog a little bit for this week (I've been stuck in Dayton with sketchy internet service). I'll be back for a while after this (I think).

There have been lots of wonderful comments left over the last little bit and I want to thank everyone for their support. This has been a difficult time, and the support of my friends has made things so much better. Thanks everyone!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Green Light

This morning's link gets a green light for fun and ingenuity, and a red light from the legal department.

Have you ever noticed how emergency vehicles (firetrucks, ambulances, etc) always seem to get a greenlight no matter what the traffic flow around them? That's because there is a little sensor on many traffic signals that detects a signal sent out from a device called a Mobile InfaRed Transmitter (MIRT). Most emergency vehicles have a MIRT, so when they approach a traffic light it automatically changes to green.

Well somebody figured out a simple way to make your own MIRT and has published the plans online. The good news is, with this you can get a green light and breeze through most intersections. The bad news is this is most likely illegal wherever you go, and cameras mounted on traffic lights should be able to pick you out with relative ease. Remember, this is cool, but not if you go to jail!