Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Project Euler - programming riddles

I was reading the Coding Horror blog and as usual, I checked out the comments. The first comment mentioned a site called Project Euler '... riddles to learn a new programming language...'

This sounded cool so I checked out the site and so far, I've solved 10 of the 200+ riddles. Each one took me around 15 minutes to solve. I'm sure the harder ones will take much longer.

As far as I can tell, all the riddles deal with math - prime numbers, Pythagorean triplets, Fibonacci sequence, etc... I never took anything past Algebra II / College Algebra. And while I probably could solve some the problems faster if I had taken more math, I have been able to solve the problems with out too much problem.

Some of these problems have let me use some really cool objects in java, like BigInteger. I even got to use the StringUtils.reverse method - I never needed to check for a palendrome before.

These problems might be a great way for someone to learn a new programming language and I really have enjoyed solving them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thanks Dude! FSM & LinkedIn

LM saw this in his google reader after I joined the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on LinkedIn.com. very funny...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rad tip - working sets

I use working sets in Rad and close projects when I'm not using them.

One of the things that bugs me with this is that it can be hard to see the individual projects when they are all displayed in the 'deselected view'.

I created some dummy projects to make this easier (once I create them, I close them and will never check them in):

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My first DP job - the modem

We called it Data Processing back in the day. But I was really just a Computer Operator at my first job out of college at a German office and school supply manufacturer in Garland, Texas.

There were three of us in DP. My boss was from Iran, and the programmer was from Thailand. Of course the big wigs were from Germany. What a change from a small college in a small town in Oklahoma. I got pretty good at understanding them with their accents. I'm not sure how well they understood me with my accent.

In 1987, after being on the job a month or so, my boss told me a modem had arrived and asked me to install it in the Shipping and Receiving PC.

Their PC was a Compaq dual floppy machine. It was already nice and dirty after only a couple years of service. I called him once I got out there and got the modem out of the box to ask him how to install it.

He asked if it was an internal or external modem. As usual, I had no clue. I described it to him and it turned out to be an internal modem. He told me open the PC up and stick it in a slot. Wow. So you're allowed to open one of these things....doesn't that break a law or at least void the warranty?

With his help, I got the modem installed. Configuring jumpers and serial ports is so much fun.

The software that came with it had some copy protection which meant that when I tried to copy it to another floppy, not only did the copy not work, but I had just burned one of the 3 copies we were allowed to make.

My previous experience with PC's was a little word processing, spreadsheets, and learning Lisp on the new CP/M machines. And writing some Basic code on an Apple IIc.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Okc Jug - Collections Presentation

Paul and I gave a presentation over the Java Collections Framework at the Oklahoma City Java Users Group Tuesday.

I'm so glad that is over... co-presenting is tough, especially without really practicing. I really think we would have done a better job if it had been just one of us doing the presentation.

We ran out of time way before we got to most of the good stuff. Oh well, we have now paid our dues. Maybe the Steering Committee people will quit bugging us to do a presentation. We were the only ones who hadn't done one.

My hope is that we did a bad enough job that they won't ask us to do it again. ;-)

I now have a little understanding what it takes to do a presentation at the jug. I should have spent more time on the presentation but I did spend about 20 hours reading, writing tests, and working on the slides.

I really enjoyed the 'wheel of fish'. Using the registration list and the Collections.rotate(list, randomNbr). I 'spun' the wheel and the winner got the shirt Laura helped my make:


The shirt says something like "I Survived the Collections Framework presentation at the Okc Java Users Group by Brian S. and Paul S., December 9th, 2008"

Friday, November 21, 2008

The SUV and Ignition Coils

We bought a new Ford Expedition in 2003 and have enjoyed owning it for the most part. A year or two ago, the 'check engine light' came on. We took it to the dealer to get it checked out since it was under warranty.

It turned out one of the ignition coils was bad and that our warranty wouldn't cover it. I think it was around $90 for the diagnostic (it's more detailed than what Auto Zone does for free) and about $150 to have them replace the ignition coil.

One of my brother in laws bought the same Expedition and had told me about the ignition coil problem. They last about 50-60,000 miles. So I was at least aware of this nice feature in the Expeditions.

When I checked the local auto stores for the price of these coils, they ran around $50 a piece (8 cylinders times $50 = ouch!) I then went on the web looking for them and found a place that would sell me an 8 pack for about $10 a piece. I ordered them, assuming they wouldn't be as good as the $50 ones.

I now go to Auto Zone to have them run the diagnostic for free.

I just replaced the #6 cylinders' ignition coil for the 3rd time. I decided to replace the spark plug too in the hopes that it was causing the coil to fail. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Replacing the ignition coil is a pain since there is a 7mm 1.5 inch bolt that holds it to the engine. I can't get a regular 1/4 inch drive socket and ratchet on the darn thing. The whole socket and ratchet are too tall to fit under all the crap above it. So I devised a solution, I use the socket, a short 1/4 socket driver that has a 1/4 inch hex head on the other end. I then use the 1/4 ratcheting box wrench to turn it. I don't I described it too well but it works.

Replacing the spark plug was pretty easy except for having to go get a spark plug gap tool - I couldn't find any of the ones I own. Getting the socket off the new plug after installing it was a headache. I spent about 5 or 10 minutes pulling on the darn thing with needle nose pliers. The spark plugs are about 6 inches down a little hole in the block.

Overall, this experience was not nearly as bad as the ride home the day before.

Now I get to work on the motorcycle and see if I can get it to charge the battery. I really don't wanna spend a bunch of money replacing the stator etc....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My 2.5 hour trip home

What an afternoon I had yesterday. My motorcycle wouldn't start when I left work.

They have a jump start pack thing here at work (I've used it a few times before) so I went to security and borrowed it.

The bike started right up and I returned the jump starter pack.

The battery was so dead that the bike didn't want to remain started unless I kept the rpm's up around 4k. I made it about a half mile away before it died. It's a little tricky keeping the rpm's up and breaking and signaling for a turn.

So I called McCarn and he brought me the jump start pack and I made it about 3 miles. I called McCarn again and then I made about 10 or 11 miles!

It died in stop and go traffic on Broadway Extension.

By this time Laura was home so she came and gave me jump. I made it another 2 miles to Bryant and Memorial before it died at a stop light.

After restarting the bike, I made it all the way home!

What a pain in the arse. I'm going to get a ramp today, so that we can load the bike into the truck easier.

So there is a problem between the stator and the battery. I guess I'll make sure all the connections are good. Maybe I'll get lucky and something will be lose.

If something isn't lose, I'm not sure if I'll try to fix it myself or let someone else do it. Looks like you have to practically remove the engine to replace the stator.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Close encounter with MUMPS

I just read part of a blog on thedailywtf that brings back memories.

When I got laid off from my first programming job in Dallas back in 1990, I went to several interviews looking for a job. One of the interviews was with a company (I don't remember the name but I think it was in Plano) that was looking for a MUMPS programmer. No MUMPS experience necessary.

The interview was one of the few I've had where I was interviewed by the project leader and the developers at the same time. The interview went well. They always had to train newly hired programmers on MUMPS since it was a fairly rare language.

They called me later to offer me the job. I think I was offered around $30k. Luckily though, I had gotten an offer from the Dallas Times Herald for more money and using the same stuff I was used to using (HP-3000, Cobol, Powerhouse, etc). So I turned them down.

The DTH gig was great, until the Dallas Morning News parent company bought the DTH 16 months later and I got laid off again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Barack Obama is the President Elect. This marks a new milestone in our country's history. For the first time, a non-Caucasian has been elected as President. To paraphrase a cigarette ad from the 1960's, "We've come a long way baby"

Voter turnout was the highest it's been since 1908 at 136 million or 64% if Michael McDonald of George Mason University is correct - see the AP story.

It will be interesting to see what Obama does. Will he really increase taxes on the wealthy and will taxes for regular people be cut or stay the same? Will there be more gun control? Will he be able to get the US out of Iraq and Afghanistan quickly? Will he be able to be more fiscally responsible than the previous administration?

So, is this the end of government spending gone crazy and the beginning of more equitable America? I hope so. I hope big business will no longer be given tax cuts for outsourcing to other countries and allowed to rape the environment.

...not really related but...

I have wanted the US to do away with the Electoral College for several years now. I think it gives people in low population density areas more than 1 vote a piece (I tried verifying this but haven't found anything yet. I did find this article which describes the Electoral College pretty well though). Obama won 331 votes and McCain won 163 votes. But the popular vote was much closer - 52 to 46 percent. The Electoral College percentage was 67 to 33 percent.

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election. This is a great reason to do away with the Electoral College. Another good reason from Wikipedia:
"The electors generally cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their respective states, but are not required by law to do so."
I guess this almost never happens but there's nothing we can do if it does.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Haskell Alumni of Oklahoma Scholarship

We found out Thursday that Susan had been awarded one of the two $500 scholarships from the Haskell Alumni of Oklahoma Association.

This was great news, especially since she hadn't even applied for it.

One of the alumni members (Carmen Ketcher) knows my mother fairly well. It was my mothers talk about Susan that got her the scholarship.

The alumni association was having their yearly reunion on Saturday so Susan and I went to the Executive meeting that they had in the morning. We got to meet Carmen Ketcher who nominated Susan for the scholarship. The president of Haskell was there.

Carmen will award Susan with the scholarship later this month in an assembly at Haskell. I'm sure there will be lots of other people receiving awards and scholarships at the assembly.

We ran into Clarence Hill in the lobby of the Holiday Inn. He's a fellow programmer here at *&^%$. He was there for a meeting for his church. It's a small world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moore-Norman Technology Advisory Council Meeting Fall 2008

I was the only non-teacher/school admin person to show up for this AC. I really need to get some other people to show up next time.

I left 45 minutes before the meeting. The traffic was really bad. It took me 55 minutes to get down there.

Dinner was great - sandwiches, potato salad, soda, etc.

The meeting was in the classroom. Frederick talked about what he teaches the students and asked for input on new languages to expose them too. I think the only language I mentioned was Ruby/Rails. Should have mentioned Scala. Frederick didn't seem to know how the newer dynamically typed languages were taking off.

I also mentioned writing tests. The students really need to start off writing tests for their code. Even pair programming and doing TDD.

I volunteered to speak to the students about what it's like be a programmer, and whatever else we come up with. I'll probably talk about the importance of tests and what it's like to work at a big corporation as a programmer.

The swag was a tablet, pen, and a 4 port usb hub. Pretty nice.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Francis Tuttle Advisory Council Meeting

I attended another FT AC meeting yesterday. It was nice to see Kris Vanderwater and Marc Hill again. Brett Schuchert has the leader of the group since last year and he does a great job.

There was a lot of talk about TDD, BDD, Agile, XP, etc with great input from everone. We always come up with way too much for Marc to be able to teach in 9 months.

I'm thinking he needs to teach them the language (which he does with a self paced online course) and then get them into groups of 4 to work on a team project. Along the way, try to mention as many aspects of programming as he can, drilling down into some of the more important or popular pieces.

Some of the things mentioned that I have to google to learn about were: JQuery, json, google code, rdf & sparql. (from a different source - Bruce Cox keeps mentioning Woodstock when he talks about his java 2 course that is using jsf). A List Apart was mentioned as a great source (along with w3) for web type stuff.

Google Code looks really neat. I guess google has internships etc that use this...maybe? interesting. Les probably told me about it a long time ago.

Marc was wanting a site(s) where students could go watch videos that talk about things like TDD, XP, Agile, etc. The only site I thought of was The Server Side. Does anyone know of any others?


The swag this year was a FT clip with a magnet on it and a nice pen. The coffee, donuts, bagels, and fruit were great too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NetBeans 6.1 - part 1 (of 1)

I started this a few weeks ago and never came back to it....

I installed NetBeans last night so I could play around with. If I ever do a presentation at the Okc Java Users Group, I thought it might be interesting to use NetBeans.

The install went pretty quick. The download was only 223mbs. I thought it would be twice that.

So I fired it up and figured out how to create a project (not bad). It has different types of projects that you can create and Swing was one of them. So I had it create a Swing app for me. I haven't looked at Swing in 6 years. That was using WSAD and their designer sucked.

It opened up the classes it created for the DesktopApplication, about window, and controller. I added a button on the panel with designer. This designer view really makes me think of VB or Powerbuilder. Just drag and drop and edit the different attributes in the Properties tab.

Editing the code is different enough from Rad(eclipse) that I am really struggling to figure out how to do stuff. Instead of Organizing Imports with ctrl-shift-O, it's Fix Imports ctrl-shift-I. The private methods in some classes are uneditable but can be changed by updating the properties.

I don't think I'll look into NetBeans anymore. And Paul Smith and I are going to talk about Collections at the December jug. What fun.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How I got started in Programming

I've read a couple of posts on the Object Mentor Blog (home of Brett Schuchert) and thought I'd do the same.

In high school (1977-1980), I heard that the other high school in town had a computer class. I wasn't much interested in computers and definitely didn't want to go to a class across town.

I wanted to get out of the house after graduation so bad that I went to summer school at NSU. (I had it really good at home, I was just ready to be on my own). In the Orientation class, one of the things we did was go talk to a representative of the college we were interested in majoring in. I knew I wanted to do something in business. I really hated accounting, marketing, managing, and sales so I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. The representative that talked to us we Gene Kozlowski. He taught computer science classes. He talked about the different majors in the business college and then started talking about computers. It sounded pretty good. That is when I decided to major in Computer and Information Science with a business emphasis. I figured I could eventually make $30k to $40k which sounded really good. :-)

My first computer class that fall was Basic. We used HP-3000 Basic and I sucked. I don't remember the grade I got but I had a really hard time understanding what to do to get a program to work. That spring I took Fortran and it clicked. I did pretty well in Fortran and gained a lot of confidance. I eventually took Cobol I and II, AI (Lisp), Data Structures (Pascal), and a database course where we used Condor.

My first job out of college was at a really small shop in Garland, Texas. I was the computer operator on an HP-3000 series 68. I also did some programming when I had time. They were using Quiz/Qtp/Quick (a Powerhouse/Cognos product) and RPG. I got pretty good at the Powerhouse stuff. Eventually, I became a programmer and helped with operations when necessary.

When that place closed, I found a job at the Dallas Times Herald using Powerhouse.
When that place closed, I found a job in North Carolina at Revlon using Cobol, Powerhouse, and eventually SAP.

I got tired of spending my 2 weeks vacation driving home to Oklahoma so I found a job in Okc doing Cobol, some Powerhouse, and now Java.

I've been out of college 21 years now and have been lucky enough to be employed for all but about 3 months. I still love to write code.

Large Hadron Collider Funnies

I've been sent, and found, several funnies dealing with LHC so I thought I'd post them:

Since the LHC runs from Switzerland, into France, and back again, do you have present your passport when enter France and then when you re-enter Switzerland, when you travel the length of the tunnel?

http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html
(this site has some really awesome stuff www.cyriac.co.uk)
http://www.bbspot.com/News/2008/09/squirrel-smasher.html
http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/nerd_pickup_lines/
http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/ (be sure to view the source on this)
http://gist.github.com/9810
http://xkcd.com/474/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8297787@N03/2845861422/sizes/l/
http://www.anorak.co.uk/twitterings/184013.html


music video about the LHC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM


from my brother, Paul:
An old friend of mine from my graduate school days is quoted in the press release from CERN regarding last nights activities. I think he captures the gravity of what many of us are feeling as we anticipate what might lie ahead... a journey inward, but just as far and just as fantastic as that day in 1969... we hope!

“As some might say: ‘One short trip for a proton, but one giant leap for mankind!’” said Nigel S. Lockyer, Director of Canada’s TRIUMF laboratory.

Friday, September 5, 2008

UsbConnect with AT&T

There is no wifi provided at Haskell Indian Nations University, so our internet options for Susan were: dsl, cable, cell phone/blue tooth, cityWireless, cell phone, and cell phone/usb.

dsl: Since she will be moving to another dorm next semester, I really didn't want the hassle of dsl or cable. I don't know what the fee's are for starting/stopping service but I assume it's at least $20 each time we start, move, or stop service.

cable: Same stuff as with dsl.

cell phone/blue tooth: I also didn't want to make her use the blue tooth connection from her cell phone to the pc. It just seems like a pain in the butt. I didn't really look into the costs of this either.

cityWireless: this is what I really wanted to get. But her dorm room is too far from the tower to be usable. It's interesting stuff though. The problem with these city wide wireless things is that your pc doesn't send a strong enough signal to the tower. So you can see the connection on the pc but your pc needs to yell at the tower "hey - go to google.com! or - upload this picture to picasa". You end up having to get a signal booster. Best Buy had one of these boosters that was like a hub. So several people could hit the booster for their internet access. I thought that was pretty cool.

Cell Phone: My brother, Paul, suggested she use an i Phone or some other phone that she could surf with. I think I'll wait until cell phones are more like laptops before we go down this route. In a few years, cell phones will probably hook up to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor via bluetooth or whatever. Basically replacing the need for laptops. Ok, maybe the laptop will be just a screen, keyboard, mouse, and battery which you dock your phone into.

cell phone/usb: I ended up getting Susan the UsbConnect service from AT&T. It's $60 a month (ouch!) but it's unlimited access[1], faster than dial-up and slower than dsl. She can get on the internet anywhere she has cell phone service. There was a $30 setup kind of fee (ouch again). The UsbConnect device is around $150 but we got a $100 mail-in rebate.

We hooked it up at the store to Susan's laptop and it started loading the software needed to get this working. It probably took an hour for this process to complete. We ended up leaving the store with it running. It was done about the time we got home. I think it's kind of cool that we were able to drive around while it was connected to the internet and downloading/installing.

So far this seems to work pretty well. New she can take her laptop just about anywhere and get on the internet.

LoJack for Laptops: Now I need to get her lojack for laptops which is $30 a year. This service is supposed to ping their servers whenever the pc is on the internet. If you report the laptop stolen, they can track down the IP and contact the ISP so the police can go arrest the thief. Someone at UCO had this service and they found the laptop within hours. Pretty cool. I wonder if the police would be able to find the laptop if someone was using UsbConnect. It depends on how close AT&T can pinpoint the signal, like they are supposed to do for 911 calls.

*[1]AT&T says it's unlimited access, but while I was researching this, I found out that there is a 5gig a month limit (I believe the limit is on the download side). I asked about it at the store and was told she wouldn't use that much but we probably wouldn't be charged unless she went over the 5gig limit more than 2 months in a row. I'll believe it when I see it.

Looking at our bill, she has used 38mb out of 5120mb over 4 days. Looks like they will charge us $0.00048 per kb over 5gig. This is around $0.5 per mb, I think.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Struggles with 'our' architecture

After reading Mark's blog entry Practice makes perfect, I decided to try and write more.
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I've spent the last couple of weeks dealing with multiple projects (security, hibernate, spring, common, etc..). I think I've got the hang of Maven pom files and their 'hard' versions and snapshots. But I'm concerned with getting multiple versions/snapshots of the same project in my local maven_repo when I do the 'clean rad6' script. This script goes and gets all the stuff a particular project needs and loads it into the maven_repo.

My main project may need 5 other projects. These 5 projects might need the same 4 core projects but each might be pointing to different versions of the core projects. The projects are generally component type things so they should be fine. I guess it will all work, just seems wrong.

The dependency tree script does a good job of showing me what projects depend on what versions of projects which depend on what versions of projects..... argh. It gets convoluted pretty quick here.
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Another one of the tasks I struggled with was trying to figure out what Cobol fields in legacy map to our domain objects. Usually it's pretty easy (map the Cobol field from legacy to the buffer we get then map that to our 'Cobol-to-domain' properties file which tells me what object it is in and what it is called) but no1club was not. The property files were in common, the domain objects were in another project and the Cobol names didn't match. Richard is having fun with the same stuff. I hope his head doesn't explode.
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Using Working Sets in Rad has made working with our projects easier. But I've noticed that when I go to edit a Working Set, sometimes projects get unchecked. If I don't notice it while editing the Working Set I have to go back and add it back in when I do notice something missing. As usual, I haven't dorked around with it to find a pattern. I thought at one point that if I had a project selected/highlighted that it would drop off the list but it doesn't happen all the time (if ever).
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Your reward for getting this far:
At my funeral, instead of people saying how great or terrible a person I was, I want them to say, "Hey! He's moving! He's still alive!" (plagiarized from a Hustler magazine)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming!!!!

September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

This should be a religious holiday for us Pastafarians.

add this event to your google calendar:


arrrr!!! thanks for the head's up k-fish!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Susan is now at college

We left Susan at Haskell around 12:30 this afternoon. It really wasn't too bad. We're gonna miss her but she's in a better place now.

We arrived in Lawrence around 3:00 pm Friday and went downtown to show Kimberly and Laura the hippy shop. I think it's called 'the third planet'. Kimberly got a new purse and I finally got an FSM emblem to put on my bike.


Funny bumper sticker Kimberly pointed out yesterday -
Lawrence Kansas - 27 square miles of reality surrounded by Kansas

We ate at Carlos O'Kelly's mexican restaurant.

This morning we got up and drove down to Haskell to get Susan checked into her dorm room. Apparently, they decided to not put both male and female freshmen in the same building. So we went to the one that had the sign 'new student housing'. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, we found out that this was the boys dorm. So we hiked to the girls dorm and stood in line again.

Susan's room was pretty small. Her room mate is from Collinsville, OK.

We went to the Parent Orientation and brunch and then on back to the dorms. We helped Susan get settled a little more and said our goodbyes.

We were 5 miles away when Susan called and said to come back, she was moving rooms and needed help. It took about 20 minutes to get back and her first room was empty. We asked about her and someone told us she was upstairs. So we head upstairs and I start knocking on doors. The first door that someone answered was Susan's room.

Wow - what a move. This room was made for 3 people and it just has Susan and her room mate.
The A/C didn't seem to work very well but it's big. It does have a rather large breaker box near Susan's bed. So I guess they could turn off power to most of the building or at least their floor if they wanted to break the lock and flip some breakers. We helped her get settled again and said our goodbyes, again.

I didn't get many pictures and some aren't very good but... go HERE to see them

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Oklahoma Tag

Interesting newspaper articles about the new OK tag which will be available early in 2009.

from the Tulsa World article: "State and local law enforcement officials have said the new plates are needed because the condition of many Oklahoma tags, some decades old, is a public safety concern. "


The Daily Oklahoman, as usual, reminds me of Fox News (heavy spin on non-separation of church and state very right-wing).... The Tulsa World did a much better job - imho.

daily ok -
http://newsok.com/culture-wares-faith-can-sell-in-public-square/article/3279443/?tm=1217988589

tulsa world -
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=20080802_16_A1_spancl454650

Some of the comments after the articles are great -

from the Tulsa World....
Ignatz, Broken Bow (8/2/2008 6:25:28 PM)
Can't believe Repubs didn't want an oil derrick and the baby Jesus.


ThunderPigeon, (8/3/2008 12:32:42 AM)
Ignatz,
That would be a shade better than who the Dems would choose: Josef Stalin or Fidel Castro. (Maybe Hitler too, his government was very socialist)

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I kind of agree with some comments by KinghtOfSwords- why an Apache and not something from the Kiowa, Caddo, Witchita, or Osage tribes? fyi - There are no reservations in Oklahoma, right?

But I like the tag anyway, and I'll probably get one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our Trip to the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde - July 2008

We left Edmond on a Saturday morning with the SUV filled with camping stuff, ice chest, and clothes. We made good time and soon came to the wind mill farms in western Oklahoma

Nothing much happened in Texas. Amarillo looked a lot like most cities, lots of restauraunts and stores.

New Mexico surprised us all, it was really beautiful. We didn't expect that at all. I wouldn't mind living there. We made it to Grants, New Mexico and spent the night.

The next day we got up and hit our first stop - the Petrified Forrest/Painted Desert. I had been here and it's an ok place, just not too exciting to me.


--- The Grand Canyon (Southern Rim) ---

We then made our way to Flag Staff, Arizona. After missing a turn, we got back on track and headed up to the Grand Canyon. This place is awesome. The altitude made me out of breath but I sort of got used to it after a few days. The canyon is incredible. The girls developed an aversion to ravens here - they were everywhere. They seemed to scare the girls. We had deer walking through the campsites near us a couple of times. We saw some elk when we were at the laundry mat. I spent a couple of bucks to get on to the internet and check my email etc at the lundry mat.

We camped for 3 nights and I think it rained every night. The temperature ranged from around 52 at night to 85 during the day. Our old tent leaked the first night so we had to hang a lot of bedding out to dry the next day. We bought a couple of tarps and tied them down over the tent. The rain didn't really bother us after that.

One afternoon, I took Susan and Kimberly to see the IMax movie about the Grand Canyon. The flying shots over the canyon were wonderful but they spent way too much time talking about explorers of the canyon.

The first full day we were at the canyon, Laura, Susan, and I went to the store and left Kimberly alone. Kimberly burnt her finger on the fire ring while we were gone. We sat around for a while trying to get the burn to stop hurting. We finally took her to the clinic at the Grand Canyon. It took about 30 minutes and tons of paper work but she got in to see a Doctors Assistant. She gave Kimberly some Silver Sulfadiazine cream that instantly took away the pain of the burn. This is some incredible stuff.

The one thing that really surprised us about the Grand Canyon were the number of foreigners. There seemed to be French and Germans everywhere. Maybe it shouldn't have surprised us but we weren't expecting it at all.

There is a general store that has about anything you might want, and a laundry mat, several restaurants. and tons of shops to get your t-shirts, magnets, jiggers, and Native American crafts.

If I ever go back, I really want to avoid the southern rim and go to the north rim. The southern rim is very crowded and I recommend taking the buses instead of driving. Bring lots of water where ever you go.


--- the drive from the Grand Canyon to Mesa Verde ---

The drive east of the Grand Canyon is beautiful. You really get to see some different landscapes.

We had planned on going to Four Corners (where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet) but there was a semi stuck that got stuck trying to turn around so we turned around and headed straight to Mesa Verde.


Mesa Verde was very cool. Lots of mesa's, valleys, and ancient cliff dwellings. The altitude is around 7000 to 8600 feet. It was hotter here and dryer than the Grand Canyon. It only got down to 60 but got up to 90 during the day. It really cools off quickly thought around 6:00 pm.

The first spot we went to was the Spruce House This was a self guided tour kind of place but there was a ranger by the entrance to the restored Kiva (a Hopi word meaning “ceremonial room”). These cliff dwellings are very cool. It's hard to imagine trying live in this place. The only water comes from the seep springs that created the alcoves where the dwellings are.

After looking at the Spruce House, we took the Petroglyph Trail that starts down by the Spruce House. This was 2.5 miles of great rock formations and views. We got really hot and tired and almost missed the petroglyphs. They were a little disappointing after the long hike. To get back, you walk up about 100 feet of stairs (10 stories) then walk on top of the mesa for a mile or so. There wasn't much shade up there. Kimberly saw something big and thought it might be a bear. It turned out to be a horse. Some horses left the Navajo reservation and came to Mesa Verde and now they are feral. The horse followed us but wouldn't get very close. Then Kimberly saw a 6' bull snake. It took us a minute but we calmed down, realized it wasn't a rattle snake and walked around it. One of the kids mentioned that it couldn't strike anything since it wasn't coiled up. Doh. It was laying straight as an arrow.

The next day we went to the Cliff Palace. This is one of the Ranger guided tours. They only cost $3.00 per person and the tour is pretty good. Cliff Palace has not really been restored. They did remove the rubble from several places and fix some structures so that they won't fall very easily. This site was easy to get to and was very nice.


--- Sunday Road trip ---

Since we missed Four Corners and Monument Valley on our way to Mesa Verde, we took a road trip. Four Corners This place is ok. It seems like a silly place though. Just because four states meet in one spot... wow... I can lay down in 4 states at one time. Big deal... The shops were nice
though. The Navajo have lots of stuff for sale. Laura and Susan bought a couple of fry bread ?loafs? They were a lot like funnel cake and very good.

We then went on to Monument Valley which is run by the Navajo. Don't bother going to Monument Valley. It costs $5.00 a person and you can see most of it from the highway. The roads are horrible and the traffic is pretty bad too. Go to the Valley of the Gods instead.

The Valley of the Gods was awesome. It's free, the roads are downright fun to drive on, and there was almost no one else there. Sometimes you can't see over the crest of a hill as you're driving so they are scary but that's part of the fun. It was alot like riding a roller coaster. Some of the roads were pretty bad but no where near as bad as Monument Valley. The rock formations are better than at Monument Valley.


--- the drive home ---

I wanted the girls to see some mountains on this trip so we drove up to Telluride and down through Silverton to Durango The altitude really got to me. By the time we got to Telluride, I had to let Laura drive. I was pretty dizzy. We probably got up to 12,000 feet and saw some pretty nice mountains. The best part was when someone said, 'hey, is that snow on that brown thing?" Someone else said, "you mean the mountain?". We didn't go through Telluride since I wasn't feeling too well so we didn't get to look for any tram rides to the top of the mountain. Durango was terrible. So much traffic and tourist crap.

We ended up driving from 9:00 am Mountain Time to 4:00 am Central time coming home. Never again. We should have stopped in Tucemcari and spent the night.


--- Conclusion ---

Time in Arizona is insane. The sun comes up at 5:30 and sets around 8:00.

The CCC guys who helped build Mesa Verde in the 1930's were very sadistic.

Some of the stairs they made are way to steep and go on forever.

Our poor old tent leaked and tore so we left it in a dumpster in Mesa Verde. The pack rat in me couldn't leave the poles though. I also cut out a could of windows for the netting - just in case.

We got hassled a couple of times at Mesa Verde because we didn't keep our site clean and free of anything that might attract bears. We never saw any but they had been seen recently. If a bear learns to come to the camp sites to get food, they will be killed. So they were right to hassle us, I just wish they gone into more detail on what they meant by keeping our campsite clean while we were gone.

This was a great family trip. We really got to spend a lot of time together and came up with some wonderful inside jokes - like: "Hey look! Dirt!" which would trigger, "Hey look! Trees!" and then "Hey look! Shut UP!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The girls and Inner Party System

Susan turned 18 yesterday and took her little sister Kimberly to a concert at Bricktown Ballroom.

The band Kimberly really wanted to see was Inner Party System (IPS). I guess after they had performed, the band was walking around the ballroom. So S & K grabbed them and got them to sign the IPS CD Kimberly had gotten with the IPS shirt she had bought. They also let Susan take a picture of them with Kimberly:


Now when these guys get rich and famous and die of a drug overdose, Kimberly can e-bay the CD!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Better Gmail 2 add-on for Firefox

I installed the "Better Gmail 2" add-on to Firefox 3 and it appears to have fixed one of my only complaints about gmail - no subfolders.


Here's a partial list of what comes with this add-on:
  • Add Row Highlights - eh, kinda cool
  • Attachment Icons - pretty neat - displays icons for attachments in preview

  • Folders4Gmail - this is the reason I got this add-on. works pretty nice. You just rename your folders like 'jug/jug sponsor' and 'jug sponsor' is a child of 'jug'. When you put labels on stuff it shows the 'jug/jug sponsor'. Kinda cheesy.

  • Force Encrypted Connection (https) - eh

  • Google Reader Integration - I haven't played with this yet

  • Macros (? for help) - doesn't seem to work, I probably have to turn it on or do it right

  • Show Message Details - ditto
overall it seems pretty nice.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Red Earth and the Girls

I am so proud of my 'little' girls! They did very well in the basket and beading competitions!

Susan got First Prize (and $100) for her basket!


Kimberly got Second Prize (and $75) for her beaded choker!



Kimberly got Third Prize (and $50) for her basket!


All the money is going into their savings accounts.

Thanks to the Indian Education Program at Edmond Public Schools for their help in making the baskets and bead work!

Here is a link to the article about this that was in the Edmond Sun.

NFJS Dallas - Day 3 of 3

Whew, what a weekend. We got back from Dallas around 10:15pm Sunday night.

Beginning Object Relational Mapping with Hibernate by Brian Sam-Bodden was a pretty good intro to Hibernate. I didn't get much out of it. I probably should have gone to something else.

Caring about your Code Quality by Venkat Subramaniam was awesome.
  • Treat warnings as errors! What a concept. I've been fixing warnings when I run across them most of the time. Usually it's just unneeded imports or unneeded 'else' statements.
  • Code reviews - I've been trying to review new code when I sync up. I've caught a few problems and would like others to do it to.
  • I liked his 'triangulation' bit. When you copy and past code, get the copied code working, then extract the common code. I'll have to try it that way. I usually extract the common code to some base class and then make it work.
  • He recommends JLint and FindBugs for doing code analysis. I'm afraid to try that on our code. But really, how bad could it be? ;-)
Agile Test Driven Development with Groovy by Jeff Brown was pretty good but I thought the title was misleading. I thought this would be writing tests in Groovy that break for the right reasons and then fixing the real code until the tests passed. But it was a pretty good introduction into testing with Groovy. I was also a little disappointed that you can't change the behavior of your Java code from the test with the Expando or MetaClass Groovy classes. The Mocks and Stubs in Groovy looks like something that Java should implement in Java 7.

Powerful Metaprogramming Techniques With Groovy by Jeff Brown was really good. I'm starting to understand Closures - passing chunks of code around like I would a variable. The XML and Markup builders are awesome. Too bad we don't do a lot of XML in our group.

None of us won anything this year. Some poor buy won a 6 month license for all the Atlassian stuff (Jira, Confluence, etc).

Saturday, June 7, 2008

NFJS Dallas - Day 2 of 3

The first couple of sessions I went to weren't really weren't all that exciting for me.

Viva La Javolution by Brian Sletton seemed forced and just a bunch of slides to expose us to the libraries that were developed for Real Time by Jean-Marie Dautelle. Since the Java license agreements says,
Software is not designed or licensed for use in on-line
control of aircraft, air traffic, aircraft navigation or
aircraft communications; or in the design, construction,
operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility.
what it really means is that do not use Java for a Real Time application where execution of the code will always happen within a specific window of time. So Garbage Collection, which can happen at any time, becomes a big problem.

The techniques that are used are very cool, I don't know that will ever be able to put them to use. We'll just buy more hardware and start using new Java features like StringBuilder(see Venkat's Know your Java presentation).

(re)introduction to Spring Security by Craig Walls. I've never used or really looked at Spring Security 2.0 (was Acegi). But it does look interesting. Craig did a good job of covering the framework even if it wasn't something I really care about.

Know Your Java by Venkat Subramaniam was excellent. Venkat is very entertaining and appeared to be very knowledgeable. He kept asking questions like: "what will this code do?" and "which way to do this is better?" No one else was answering so I (tried) to answer several questions. I probably got 60% of them. My favorite part was about floats/doubles/BigDecimals since this has become a pretty big issue to me at work. NEVER use floats or doubles when dealing with currency. Venkat seemed to really hate/loath the String constructor for BigDecimal and I did not get a good answer from him on what is better that BigDecimal. :( He even showed us screwy things with Groovy and numbers. The StringBuilder (new with Java 5) class seems pretty cool.

Advanced Web Development with Grails by Jeff Brown was pretty good. He got a good start on building an application that had 3 domain objects. Object A has zero-to-many B's and B has zero-to-many C's. I didn't follow it all but it was a good presentation. Especially since it was all coding and no slides. I love that kind of presentation.

The Birds of a Feather on Hibernate and Spring with Criag Walls and Brian Sam-Bodden was ok. We ended up talking a lot about web ?framworks?

NFJS Dallas - Day 1 of 3

My first reaction to NFJS yesterday was how few people there seemed to be. This is Dallas! I expected more than the 100-150 that are here.

I attended the Groovy the Blue Pill, and Groovy the Red pill, and the one on Grails. All were presented by Scott Davis. Groovy looks very nice and I'll have to take a closer look to see if it will help us at work. Grails looks like it could make all of our CRUD apps much easier to develop.

Groovy looks great. I heard someone a couple of years ago say that if an IDE can do something for you like 'generate getters and setters' then why even have it in the code? This is one of the things that Groovy exposes. I would really like not having getters and setters in my business objects. Groovy uses BigDecimal, not float or double! How awesome is that? BigDecimal isn't perfect, but it is so much better as it is than floats! I'll never use floats again (I hope).

My main concern with Grails is that we usually have a layered architecture. Grails, out of the box, seems to want to put everything in the web app/layer. I'm pretty sure we can still use it, it just won't be as simple and straight forward if we don't follow convention and have to do configuration.

The keynote was by Neal Ford of Thoughworks. Very nice 'doom and gloom' for programmers in the US. Chindia will take over software development etc. Maybe I'll just become a custom furniture builder.

I met a guy from Mens Warehouse (Houston) - they are looking for java developers if you wanna move to Houston. I asked him if he knew Ralph D. and he did. Small world.

I also met a Dallas developer from Ethiopia. Apparently where he grew up was like a high plains kind of area and isn't used to the heat here in Dallas in the summer. Interesting... I always assumed all of Ethiopia was hot - Africa Hot (Biloxi Blues)


later...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kimberly is now a published author


Wow - I'm so proud. Kimberly's book "The End of the Trail" has been published! Ok, so we had to pay to get it printed, but I believe it will be available at one of the library's in Okc or Edmond.

It's all about the Trail of Tears and actually contains some important facts. Like the president that signed the ?bill?order? to relocate a lot of the indigenous people of America to Oklahoma.

It makes me wanna get a sharpe and change my shirt to look like this:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Susan's Graduation

Susan is now a high school graduate! There were about 19 of us there for the ceremony.

I was pretty stressed about getting downtown and parked and then from the parking garage to 235 afterwards. Turns out, that part was the easiest.

I guess I was responsible for finding out where to go once we got into the Cox Center. I had only been there to go to a home and garden show. We finally made it to some decent seats after 2 or 3 wrong turns.

Afterward we all made it to El Parian in Edmond and had a great dinner. Except for Yana - I guess she shouldn't have had the guacamole. After a little coaxing from Laura, Susan stood up and thanked everyone for showing up. She did a pretty good job, I guess all those presentations at school paid off.

Susan managed to get $240 and some other great stuff.

Monday, May 12, 2008

There is no God, and I can prove it!

Ok, I lied. You can't prove the non-existence of something.

My main complaint these days about Christianity is Intelligent Design (aka Creationism). I've wondered for a long time, why couldn't God have used evolution to create Man? Why would God have left evidence of evolution in the ground? Just to confuse us? Why would God have made it appear to us that the earth and universe are much older than what is in the Bible? Oh ya, we don't know Gods plan. Good answer ;-)

Evolution is not a theory. Wow, this guy nailed it (clipped from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html):

Let me try to make crystal clear what is establishedbeyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

- Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol. 35 (March 1973) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix AZ 1983

The attempt to get religion taught in public schools has forced me to become a Pastafarian (www.venganza.org).

I should remember - don't talk about politics or religion (or abortion (aka justifiable homicide) which is both at the same time for some people). Obama in 2008!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

EPS Indian Education Program Awards Banquet

We all attended the Edmond Public Schools Indian Education Program Awards Banquet this evening.

The evening started with a slide show of the activities the group was involved in over the last year. There were pictures of the the kids at the 6th Annual Oklahoma Native American
Youth Language Fair
where several kids won or placed in the different competitions. There some pictures of the Hand Game event we attended last month. Mrs. Yellowfish even said, 'here's a good picture of the Sheldon family'. My favorite picture was of Susan receiving the $100 savings account at the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma. Or maybe it was Kimberly guessing during the Hand Game.

We then had a great catered dinner of turkey, ham, and BBQ brisket.

Then the awards started. Susan was the first. She got a certificate, $10 gift certificate to a local book store, and Pendleton Laptop Backpack! The backpack is awesome! There must have been 30 kids that received certificates and gift certificates - Kimberly included.

Then Mrs. Yellowfish gave out presents and thanks to all the teachers that have helped with the programs tutoring program. The average NDN student in Edmond ranks in the 90th percentile at their ?school?grade? which sounds really great to me.

The Superintendent of Edmond Public Schools jumped in and thanked Mrs Yellowfish, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. ??? for all their hard work and asked for a big round of applause. I was surprised that he showed up. Very nice.

Finally, Mrs. Yellowfish told anyone who has a birthday in May to come up and pick a door prize, then June, then anyone who wears glasses, then everyone else. She has way too much swag!

Funny story - I wish I could remember Mrs. ???'s name - I mentioned her earlier. Anyway, after I ate dinner, I went back into the room where the food was to refill my drink and Mrs. ??? and Mrs. Smith were the only ones in there.
I said, "thanks for doing all this for us, I really appreciate it".
Mrs. ??? said, 'You're not leaving are you?"
"No", I said.
"Good, because we might ask for our food back if you are".
She sounds like a good person to get to know!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Agile & XP - can it work when porting an app?

I'm not much into the Agile & XP type of things - pair programming has a lot of value, but I don't do it much. The Stories (sort of like a Use Case?) seems pretty good - especially the testable part - very nice. Leads you into TDD development. Again, I don't really do TDD but I probably should - except when porting complex Cobol code with a small amount of time to do it.

I've been chatting with RC about the RT team and their approach to porting their application. They seem to be treating this port as 'new development' and are looking for an 'owner' who can help them develop stories that eventually become code.

The main problem I see is the legacy code is the 'owner'. So we need people to 'mine' the legacy code in order to develop the 'stories'. I'm wondering if the RT team is doing this? I doubt it. They appear to want to talk to people and develop stories this way. The problem is, no one person knows the app well enough. There are way too many one-off's.

From what I've heard and seen, the rest of the process doesn't seem bad - pair programming, testable stories, war room, etc. I wish they were using Fitness for real - I'd like to see that - seems like it would be difficult.

So what do the 2 people who read this think - I'm way off, dead on, somewhere in between?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Moore-Norman Technology Advisory Council Meeting

I went to the MN Technology AC meeting Tuesday evening and met with the Java instructor, Frederick Akins. Dinner was great and I received a nice soft-sided brief-case.

Unfortunately, I was the only person from 'industry' to show up for the Java part of their program. I mentioned some of things I think the students should be doing:
  • layering their apps
  • writing tests
  • look at Groovy, Grails, JRuby,
  • write apps for browsers (not too much swing). I suggested using JSF, Wicket, Tapestry, or maybe even Struts.
They always want new projects to work on so I mentioned having the students contribute to an open source project. I don't see my employer letting students work on our code. One think I mentioned a year or 2 ago - I'd love to see an eclipse plug-in that would read a Cobol buffer and map it to Java objects. The plug-in would need the Cobol buffer layout and something to map the Cobol fields to the Java fields. I'll have to mention this to Frederick. I guess it wouldn't have to be a plug-in, it could just be a Java app (or JRuby, Groovy, Grails...).

Monday, April 21, 2008

favorite bbsposts of all time

This story is main reason I read bbspot. I found this years ago and it's still pretty funny today: Microsoft Buys Evil From Satan.

Pretty good follow up story: Evil Monkeys

Friday, April 18, 2008

Memories of Murrah - by Kimberly

Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of the Murrah bombing so I thought I post Kimberly's power-point on the subject. She made this last fall in a multimedia class.


video

Ace Hardware rebate

I bought some weed-n-feed at Ace yesterday. The cashier if I wanted the rebate for it. I said, "Yes".

Since I had signed up for their Ace Rewards program when I ordered an electric lawn mower a few weeks ago, I was able to go online and and fill in the info for the rebate. I didn't have to mail anything. Very Cool!

Now I''ll get my $3 in the mail in 6 to 8 weeks.

NDN Hand Game Event

The four of us went to a dinner and hand game event last night. The event was put on by the Edmond Public Schools Native American Education program. It was a great time. Many thanks to everyone who helped run this event - Mrs. Yellowfish, Mrs. Smith, and Susan. I don't remember the other peoples names.

We were fed Corn Soup, Fry Bread, Grape Dumplings, fruits, and brownies. Very good stuff. I got some tips on making Grape Dumplings. My first try wasn't all that good. Susan wants me to make them for her internship presentation.

The hand game was played by the Plains Indians back in the day and is a lot of fun. We played the version that the Ponca and some other tribes played.

You have two teams and one team guesses and one teams hides. The hiding team has 2 small objects and one of each is given to two players. They put their hands behind their backs and when they are ready, show their clenched fists. The guesser has to guess which hands the objects are in. If he/she are right, then the guessing team hides and the hiding team guesses. If he/she guesses wrong, the hiding team gets one or two points (depending on whether they guessed wrong for both or just one of the hidden objects).

Each team starts out with 5 sticks/points and you win when you have all 10 sticks/points.

While the games is going on, the singers are drumming and singing. The hiding team claps and tries to distract the guesser by waving their hands in between the guesser and the hiders. This is one the really fun parts.

Our team got creamed. We lost the last game in less than 2 minutes. It only took about 4 bad guesses.

Almost everyone won a door prize - mostly t-shirts and canvas bags. A really nice Pendleton briefcase was the 'big prize'.

Here are some pictures of the event:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Open Office -vs- MS Word 2007 - part deux

So Susan changed a Word 2007 .docx file with Open Office and saved it. Then Monday morning, she needed to print the file to turn in that day. Open Office opened the file but it was empty. I really don't any more details than that.

So Susan and Laura ran out and bought Office 2007 Student/home edition after school.

They then installed it. Ok, they tried to install it. I believe the trial version that came with the pc was in the way. So, they tried to uninstall Office and Works but they wouldn't uninstall. Trying to install the new version of Office again wouldn't work either.

When I got home today I restored the pc to an earlier restore point. I was then able to uninstall Works but not Office. I tried a few things - even backing up, then renaming the registry entries. Still no dice.

All the while I'm chuckling to myself (sort of) - ha ha - your MS crap doesn't work!!! But I know Susan is upset about all the bickering between myself and Laura. All Susan wants is something that will work.

So Laura calls the MS help line people. I am amazed! She got through to someone who could actually help within 5 minutes. They spoke with a Indian (dot not feather) accent but they helped. The trial version was gone and the new software was installed within half an hour. There is some sort of configuration crap going on due to my renaming registry keys that they couldn't fix. I'm pretty dubious about that.

Anyway, I am very impressed how quick MS was able to fix the problem. It's kind of sad too, I should expect this sort of service but with all the horror stories you hear about tech support you get jaded.

They used the 'new' net meeting to take control of the pc. Pretty cool since they were probably in Bangalore or Jakarta.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My trip from Yahoo Email to Google Email - part 2

I finally got my 2339 emails moved from Yahoo to gmail. These emails take up 286 MB (4%) of the 6617 MB google gave me for my email.

Here's part 1 of the journey.

When I started moving them today I was able to move about 100 before things quit working. I shut down ypops and thunderbird and waited a few minutes before starting them up again. It didn't help. I rebooted and that fixed the problem.

So now I'll just have to tell everyone to use my gmail account instead of yahoo.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Indian Chamber of Commerce Scholarship

Susan was one of the 5 finalists for the AICCO scholarship (http://aicco.org/). This is a $1000 scholarship for Native American high school seniors who live in the OKC Metro area.

The AICC held a luncheon today for the finalists at Twin Hills Country Club.

She didn't win. But all 5 finalists were given a savings account with Bank2 (owned by the Chickasaw Nation) with $100 in it. The interest rate is around 3.9%. So we may move her savings account. Just gotta figure out how to get the money to her after she starts college.

Susan's mentor, Mrs. Yellowfish, attended the luncheon with Susan, Laura, and I. Here is a picture of Susan and Mrs. Yellowfish.


Mrs. Yellowfish has been such a great teacher and mentor to Susan. I know Susan will look back at her school days and think that Mrs. Yellowfish was one of her best and most influential teachers.

Here is a picture of Susan receiving her $100 saving account:

born-again atheist

I thought I came up with this phrase. I guess I was wrong.

I'm a born-again atheist. - Gore Vidal (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26867.html)

So you're born an atheist and get brainwashed into believing in a god and then you grow up and realize there is no god. (reminds me of the Matrix - "there is no spoon")

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Okc Jug - April meeting

Wow what a day. Our lunch meeting had 47 people - yet another record. I think this one will stand a while. A lot of people wanted to come see Craig Walls, author of Spring in Action. Craig did a pretty good job at lunch. He didn't have much time and so he wasn't able to go into a lot of details on Spring. Too bad.

The evening meeting had 7 people. I was very happy to see Kurt and Kris Vanderwater. I met Kris thru the Francis Tuttle Advisory Board. Biju Kurian even showed up.

I reminded Brett Schuchert that he needs to bring a book to me. I got the book from O'Reilly and he was supposed to read it and post a review. I guess he hasn't been interested in reading the book.

The lunch meeting was a nightmare for me.
  • Scott Centille and I went by Kinko's to pick up the flyers for NFJS and had to wait 15 minutes while they printed them. Not too bad but Jay said they'd be ready by 11:30.
  • So we get to UoP and room 308 is locked. I get my phone out to call them and there is a message from the pizza delivery person.
  • I go down stairs to get them to open room 308.
  • After I ask them to unlock the room, the pizza person calls and doesn't have a clue where UoP is. I guide her to a parking place and we both load up with pizza and pop. There are still several 2 liters to bring up. Judy Xu helped carry some stuff - thanks Judy.
  • We get upstairs and the room is still locked. But Jason Lee and Craig Walls were there! Yeah, at least they got there from the airport in plenty of time.
  • I set the pizza and pop down and head for the stairs. I get back down to the 1st floor about the same time the pizza person and some others get off the elevator. I tell them which direction to go to get to her car.
  • I then go into the UoP office and ask them to open room 308. I had told them 311 earlier - ARGHHH!!!
  • I go outside to help carry the rest of the pop in and they are standing around wondering where this lady's car is.
  • I say it's this way and head to her car. We grab the rest of the stuff and head back upstairs.
  • We get to the room and it's open!!! It's now 12:30 - the time the meeting was supposed to start.
  • I start setting up and some others start setting out the pizzas. Lots of people are filing in. I had wanted to get there in time to rearrange the tables so people could get around easier. Well forget that. I tell some people to go get chairs. Room 311 is now locked again - that's where I was gonna grab some chairs from.
  • So we go to another room and steal about 10 chairs.
  • I passed out a bunch of evals and start a couple of sign-in sheets going around the room.

The rest of lunch wasn't too bad.

Now, the evening meeting.

  • I show up around 5:20 and Jason and Craig are still in 308. We were supposed to be in 311 for the evening meeting. Ok, we'll stay until we get kicked out.
  • Guess what, we get kicked out.
  • We move to another room, then another room, and finally we get to a room that isn't needed. OMG.

The evening meeting was really good. Lot's of Q&A that I barely understood and some I did understand. I asked what Craig to tell us about Wicket. But he didn't say too much about it. He did talk about OSGI which is a component architecture (I think) and AOP stuff, and differences with 2.0 and 2.5 and why they still use proxy's. Most of it was above my head.

I get home and rest a little while. I then get out the laptop and get the eval spreadsheet ready for my wonderful wife to enter the new evals and email addresses into. She gets it all entered and I tidy it up a bit and send it in an email to the steering committee.

We may need a bigger room for the lunch meetings. yuck.

What a fun day!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Founder of Pastafarianism interview

This probably would better distributed in an email, twitter, or shared google reader...

Nice interview with the guy who started Pastafarianism aka Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Bobby Henderson ):
http://www.helium.com/items/961438-there-opposing-viewpoints-matter

I guess Moby is a Pastafarian: http://www.venganza.org/2008/04/07/moby.htm

Open Office -vs- MS Word 2007

This is not a comparison between MS Word & OO Writer. What it is, is the crap I had to go through to get a Word 2007 .docx file into OO Writer.

Susan has a nice new laptop (Vista) which came with a trial version of Home/Student Office 2007. The trial period has run out and she has some homework she needs to do.

No problem. I just had her install Open Office. But wait. It won't read the .docx files that she created with Word 2007 that she wants to use to create a new document. Argh. The pressure to buy MS Office starts. I had proved weeks ago that I can create a Power Point presentation with OO Impress and save the files as .ppt, .pdf, .html, etc. So why pay MS when OO will work fine.

I googled and googled and finally found this: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ooop

This is "OxygenOffice Professional (OOOP, O2OP) is an enhanced version of free OpenOffice.org what is a multi-platform office productivity suite. OxygenOffice Professional contains more extras like templates, cliparts, samples, fonts and VBA support." And the ablility to read .docx files.

I downloaded it to my laptop and installed it. The install was pretty easy but it stopped and told me to close IE. Weird, but at least it told me to close it and gave me a 'retry' button. Once I killed off my 6 instances of IE (yes I'm still on 6.0) and clicked the 'retry' button, off it went again and finished. It then told me I had to reboot.

Meanwhile, I emailed a .docx file to myself from Susan's PC.

Once my PC rebooted, OOO opened the .docx file just fine.

So now I take the install file and dump it on Susan's PC and run the install. It died close to the start. Hmmm. Try again? Ok, I tried again. This time it makes it pretty far before telling me I need to close 2 applications. But all it gives me are PID's. I Start up Task Manager and sort by.. oh wait, add PID to the view, now sort by PID and End Process. Hit 'retry' and off it goes again. No reboot needed for Vista. At this point I don't care why.

I open OOO Writer and wallah, the document opens and looks pretty good.

I really don't wanna buy MS Office, even if it's only $120. Susan really wants to use MS since she recently passed the certification test. I just hope I can get her to use OOO and learn it as well as she learned Word.

UCO Pow-wow

Susan, Laura, and I attended a pow-wow at UCO Saturday night. It was a rather small one. There were about 100 people. The food was great - corn soup, fry bread, meatloaf, brisket, fried chicken.

Susan and Mrs. Yellowfish (with help from Susan's friend Rebecca) were able to raise over $200 for the United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY). They want to send a representative or two to a national UNITY conference in Reno, Nevada in July.

We won a bakeware set from the UCO Native American Students Association (NASA). NASA was really nice, they had a blanket dance to raise money for the UNITY group. I think they got around $60 from the blanket dance.

I bought a shirt see it here. I'm feeling a little hypocritical about this.

While Laura, Susan, and I were are the pow-wow, Kimberly was in a suite at the Redhawks game! She was spending the night with her friend and they stumbled into some tickets from Ozarka.

Friday, April 4, 2008

High Defenition TV Converter Box

I got my HDTV converter the other day! Now I can watch TV in 2009 and later even when cable goes out or we are camping.

I got a the $40 coupon in the mail that I signed up for here https://dtv2009.gov/ so it only cost me about $10.00.

I hooked the box up and it works. The picture was pretty pixelated. Worse than what I see through Cox Cable. But it'll work.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My trip from Yahoo Email to Google Email - part 1

I've been wanting to move to gmail for a while. Especially since MS decided to try and buy Yahoo. I hope it doesn't happen but I would like to get my email moved just in case.

Les found this blog entry that seems to describe exactly what I want to do http://3oclockblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/great-email-adventure-pt-1.html

It talks about installing an email server on your pc to pull all the emails from Yahoo but you have to put them into a local email app, like Thunderbird http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/

I've been able to move about 20 emails. So now I'll just have to spend some time moving the rest.

(see the 2nd part here)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Francis Tuttle Advisory Council meeting

I just attended a very good meeting Francis Tuttle. The meetings' objective was to help direct Marc Hill and FT on what they can teach in 2 years to produce students who can then enter the workforce (or get them ready for college) and be productive.

So far it seems like they are exposed to lots of technology that they will likely be using (Mozzilla and Jira type stuff, CVS and Subversion kind of things, software development cycle, NetBeans, etc...). I believe they use the Sun Academic Initiative Program with courses designed to teach java and prepare you to pass the Sun Certified Associate and Programmer tests.

There were lots of interesting comments (especially from Brett Schuchert and Kris Vanderwater).

Kris is so passionate about drupal (http://drupal.org/) that I'm gonna check it out. It is supposed be like PHP++ and java programmers take to it like ducks to water... we'll see. So far it looks very web centric. I'm used to apps being broken into layers - web - business - dao, etc. It's gotta be easier to read/learn than Ruby & Perl!

Brett talked (a little too long maybe?) about how UML isn't all that useful. But the students should learn enough of it to be able to understand it. Of course he said lots of other good things but I don't think I'll talk about them right now.

The change to the JUG's evening meeting (focus on nerdlings) may be helpful to anyone taking the FT java course and was mentioned a couple of times. I really hope we can get some people to show up for these meetings. It's going to be very flexible (agile?) - no real topics - just what do you want or need to know.

The idea suggested last year to get the students to contribute to an open source project didn't get a very good response. I would think that this would be a very nice thing to have in your resume. Even though you weren't paid for your work, it does show initiative and the ability to apply what you have learned. It would give an interviewer another way to judge whether you will be productive or not.

There were some volunteers (Objectstream/Biju & Brett) to mentor and teach the students which should be a great help to the students.

We all got a nice calculator, a pen, and a pad of paper with the FT logo for our time. Very nice, thanks.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Okc JUG - Evening meetings = Nerdlings

The JUG meetings have really changed this year. Last summer, we started having lunch meetings and evening meetings. Over that last 3 months, the Evening meeting attendance has dropped to around 7 people. And the Lunch meetings have gone from around 15 to over 30. We had 41 people for our March lunch meeting - a new record. We've had to change rooms for the lunch meeting. The new room will hopefully be less crowded.

Because the evening meetings are now so small, we are changing their format starting in May. We will no longer ask the sponsor to provide food or drinks for the evening meeting. We have started to try and get people who are struggling with Java or are new to the language. Basically make it a Java for Newbies kind of meeting. We will have at least 2 people who really know java. We will start around 5:30 or 6:00 and have a short presentation over something simple and then open the meeting up to questions and even work one-on-one with people to help them learn. I doubt we will get much attendance at this meeting until September or October since a lot of newbies (or Nerdlings as I like to call them) are going to be high school or college students. Maybe we'll get some of the Cobol programmers that Hertz is about layoff

Friday, March 28, 2008

Trip to Lawrence

What a fun 5 hour drive it was to Lawrence Kansas! Nothing exciting, just a 5 hour drive. The Kansas turnpike got at least one thing right, the gas/food stops are in between the north and south bound lanes. Their turnpike radio station was helpful, it said the low temps would be around 45. At that point, Susan and I looked at each other and realized we didn't bring any kind of jacket or warm shirts. I spent a couple of hours Wednesday night finding Wal-mart and buying a couple of sweat shirts. They worked well on our tour of the campus.

Lawrence does have hills. One I drove on was very steep (made my ears pop). I had assumed the city was pretty flat.

There are tons of stores and restaurants.

My favorite bar I saw was the Phoggy Dogg. My favorite restaurant was Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Restaurant. I've gotta get shirt from Carlos's when I go back in May for Susan's pre-enrollment.

Haskell seems like a great little university. It seemed like a small town, you get to know everyone. They also have several clubs/groups the kids can join. The first year, the counselors keep a pretty close eye on them and try to keep them on campus. We ate lunch at the cafeteria and it was pretty good. It was amazing to see all the license plates in the parking lot - California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a few from Kansas.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What can you do to make my life better?

Here I am, sitting watching Futurama... wondering what I should write about... hmmm... not much. Alien is getting ready to start. This was one of the scariest movies I saw while growing up.

The main thing everyone should think is 'what can I do to make Bubba's life better?'

Have a great St. Hangovers Day Tuesday!