Tuesday, December 28, 2004

New light on things we take for granted.

Minimum: Primary definition (formula

While looking for articles by Stephen Wolfram, I came across his http://functions.wolfram.com web site. Intrigued, I started to poke around, and looked at the alphabetical index of functions. The Min(x,y) caught my eye.. Sure it's simple enough... Take two numbers and return the lowest. Pretty intuitive, in fact. But how do you prove it?

The function above does just that. At first blush the function looks a bit daunting, but just write it down on a piece of paper. Pick two numbers and plug them in. Since you are proabably, like me, a little rusty on the on the mathematics, the bit after the semicolon just means that x1 and x2 need to be members of the set of Real numbers, imaginary numbers need not apply!

Imagine my surprise when I realized that I wasn't looking for Stephen Wolfram, but rather Theodore Gray. Well, they Co-founded Wolfram Research, so I guess the confusion is understandable.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

My Wife Rocks!

When adding items to an amazon.com wish list is free, you tend to add items that you think would be cool to have, but probably wouldn't go out and buy yourself. I have, for example, a Dyson vacuum sweeper on mine.

This year I mentioned to my wife that it would cool to have an iPod, and I added it to my wishlist. I thoroughly did not expect to get one.

Come Christmas Eve, when our family gets together to open gifts, I realized that I had absolutely no idea what my wife got for me! I could not imagine what was in that little cube. I guess it's fair to say that I had never really noticed the packaging for the iPod anyway. I knew it had to be something special, and saved it for last.

I honestly can say that I haven't been more surprised, nor more grateful for a Christmas gift in many years.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bookstore Syndrom

Hi, I'm JB and I suffer from bookstore syndrome. "What the heck is bookstore syndrome?" you ask. Bookstore Syndrome (BS) is the experience of completely losing any and all ideas of waht you might have been looking for. It's happened to more times than I can count. In fact I'm still carrying around a B&N gift card that I got for my birthday, just because ever time I go in there I'm completely overwhelmed. Maybe instead I'm like the kid in a candy store who only has a nickel to spend and can't decide what to spend it on.

If I'm lucky something catch my galzed eyes and trigger a memory. If I then proceed, post haste, to the appropriate section of the store, I might find the fleeting item before I get distracted...

...what was I saying??

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Joe Mike does Four...

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire

I'm no expert, but I think Straczynski do pretty decent job... I think if there is something that JMS is good at, it's the arc story.

I was a fan of Babylon 5, but it was a love hate relationship. Sure JMS did a great job, but we were always left wondering if the stories could be better if JMS wasn't trying to do everything. He did (do them all) and it came out pretty well.

I'm no comicbook expert (see the wastebasket for that expertise) so I have no idea if he's been brutalizing Spiderman or keeping it going well, riding high on the cinematic successes.

So I say, what the heck, the guy's gotta make a living!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Operating System Bigotry

I'm often confronted with the heinous experience of Linux fans and their common (though certainly not universal!!) bigotry against anything Microsoft. I work with and support Microsoft products every day; I freely admit that Microsoft products are certainly not perfect, but I also don't go around preaching that Windows is great and Linux sucks.

Today I found a posting on slashdot that I thought really said what I feel, and did so very eloquently, I've copied it here for you enjoyment, many thanks to the original poster!

Re:Catch-22 (Score:5, Insightful) by obeythefist (719316) on Tuesday December 07, @11:50PM (#11028954) (Last Journal: Tuesday March 30, @01:55AM)
I don't believe I mentioned BSD or Linux or Jaguar or any other OS or company apart from Microsoft.
I'm not sure what you mean however with regards to "fixing and breaking things more often". Microsoft patches are quite strenuously tested, so they are very slow to arrive (not more often, less often) Very few if any MS patches break third party software. Compare this to the complexity of handling Linux dependencies. I am sure if you upgrade some components of Linux and replace dependencies, you might find a lot of things suddenly stop working. Microsoft isn't really responsible for making third party software work on their OS... are you holding MS accountable for the work of Adobe? Or for the work of nameless shareware developers? Is it not their responsibility to fix the software if they write applications that work outside of Microsoft's preferred APIs?

My experience with Linux dependencies on a couple of different distros have been nothing like your example. Many different applications just don't work on Linux without downloading and installing very specific packages to handle dependencies... so much so that people need to write software purely to handle dependencies. For some reason.. when I install software on a windows box, I double-click an exe file and it works. I don't even need to see the word "dependency". I'm not trying to say one method is better than the other. But what I am saying is that Microsoft have decided to take this path and as a result they have to be very precise with the fixes and patches they apply to their OS.

The unified patching for debian and redhat really makes it easy on the user when you can run a single command to update EVERYTHING in your system.

Shame that isn't available on every Linux distro. With every current version of Windows, I can go to a website called "Windowsupdate.com" and click a single button to update EVERYTHING in my system. And you know what? I don't have to go looking anywhere but microsoft.com for fixes for Windows.

Windows XP SP2 hasn't broken any drivers that I know of, unless they are drivers that for some reason need a hole in the firewall and I suddenly forget how to configure a firewall. Of course I can simply uninstall the service pack if that does ever happen (it doesn't, RTFA please).

So basicly the windows way is bad and painful to use. and the linux was is nice and easy for once

You haven't demonstrated this. Please explain with consise examples of what you mean. Providing a questionable statement without decent supporting arguments is hardly compelling, although on Slashdot people will believe you because "Linux good, Windows baaaaaad".
Microsoft have made the best business decision possible in terms of advancing the security of their platform at the minor cost of a few applications that (again, RTFA because you don't seem to have noticed this) don't work when a firewall blocks them. This is applicable to Linux. Firefox on Linux is *broken* when you install a firewall and block port 80. By your arguments, Linux is therefore "fucked if they do and fucked if they don't" because if you install a firewall the "API is so hacked together to keep everything working" and this somehow has something to do with applying a default-on firewall to the OS. Linux users are purportedly more open minded and understanding of basic OS principles. Why am I constantly meeting Linux advocates who are so more closed minded than the average AOL toting Windows user?

People are bitching at microsoft for no real reason in this case. An unconfigured firewall breaks a few applications that need ports opened, and for some reason, as my parent post said, Linux advocates believe this is a flaw in Windows XP and put the blame squarely on Microsoft.

Explain yourself clearly, concisely, or put your PC back in the box and send it to your OEM. Computer license revoked by the Darwin Internet Preservation Act.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Take 'em Down Already

OK, People... You all rushed out and got the political candidacy signs to stick in you front yards, your windows, your fields backing up to major highways... Now, in case you hadn't noticed, election day was last week, and that means it's time to take down the signs!

And all you politicos who had your underlings put out signs in empty lots, go pick them up too!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

We can... And we've got to... Do better than this

Sunday night, the local PBS affiliate aired a film on "Independent Lens" called "The Political Dr Seuss" For many (of us) whe grew up with Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat early reader books, it came as a bit of surprise just how politically motivated many of his writings were. Sure, The Lorax is a not so subtle commentary on the evils of clear cutting, polution, commercialism and apathy towards the evirnoment, I had never heard of "The Butter Battle Book", published in 1984 as a statement against Ronanld Regan's foreign poicy and the Cold War.

According to the film, not long before Ted Geisel's death, his biographers asked if there was some sort of statement that he would want to "leave behind", he told them he would think about it...

A week later he wrote back, "The best slogan I can think to leave with [the kids of] U.S.A. would be: 'We can... And we've got to... Do better than this.'" He apparently scratched out the "the kids of" just before sending it.

Friday, November 05, 2004

First Blog

Well, there's a first time for everything isn't there? I'm not sure what I am going post here as time goes on, but I'll put something up from time to time. Do I have something to say, something that makes me get up on my soapbox and shout? Sometimes...

It's late fall here in Minnesota and it's golden hour all day long, though the day isn't all that long! It's golden outside, and I balessed/cursed with a south facing office window.

SCCA ProRally is dead and Rally America is about to pick up where SCCA left off. We'll see how that progresses, and maybe I'll comment.

Until Next Time.