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.