Tuesday, November 25, 2008

20081125.1452 Perl Videos

OK so this is one of those 'caveat emptor' moments. You get what you pay for and this is very very free. But if you know absolutely nothing about the Perl programming language and want to learn it but can't be bothered to read a book yet you do have 4 hours of free time, then give this guy a viewing:

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2:

Lesson 3:

Lesson 4:

I have gotten about 16 minutes into this before my eyes rolled back in my head. Mind you I already know Perl and I teach classes - though I have never taught a Perl class... So I can't throw stones per se, but at the very least, I am not in his target audience so it does not matter.

20081125.0925 New Gear

So it turns out that the Disney make-over of HHGTTG was not merely a giant Nokia commercial after all. If Samsung gets their way - then the next generation of their smart-phones will look a lot more like the prop used for the device in the movie.

20081125.0917 It Never Gets Old

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20081119.1224 Look! Up in the Sky!

If this image doesn't just scream LOOK AT ME - then I don't know what will...

Friday, November 14, 2008

20081114.0922 History Repeats Itself

It would seem that people are standing up and finally taking notice of the fact that rape can be used by the military as a weapon. The question at the moment is whether or not it should be added as a count of genocide against Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir - the President of Sudan.

What bothers me about the referenced article is this sentence:
"Hanging in the balance is whether the heinous modern warfare strategy of mass rape will be condemned and prosecuted for what it truly is: genocide."

It would be a fine journalistic sentence if the word 'modern' was removed. If we go back in history 50 years we will find that the Japanese did exactly the same thing in the Philippines, China and Russia. It has been postulated that was one reason why the Russians invaded Japan at the end of the war against US urging - revenge.

Anyone who has watched Braveheart knows that it was a practice that the English systematically used against the Scottish and the Irish. Go a little further back and we have the Vikings - who populated 1/2 the world with 'yellowheads'. i.e. blonde hair

This is NOT modern. As a result - I predict that these charges will NOT materialize, since then restitution might be sought from anyone else who has used this practice. No one wants to remember a past where their people were guilty.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

20081113.1201 The Real Whale Wars

While some folks are busy watching the efforts of Japanese fishing fleets to illegally harvest whales and getting entertainment from watching organizations like Greenpeace try to stop them - the US Navy has been waging it's own war - in the court system.

The real Bush legacy will be effect that he had on the Supreme Court by stacking it with "loyal Bushies"*. You can guarantee that all of the decisions that they will hand down will be an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, to broaden the powerbase of the executive branch (wonder if they'll do that for Obama too? Doubt it.), to take the side of corporations over citizens, and to remove any restraints at all on the conduct of the military.

So the outcome? The Supreme Court says that the Navy is in more danger from enemy submarines than the whales are from the Navy. Therefore they made them exempt from the restrictions on Sonar use when a whale is within 2,200' of the transmitter. Prediction? More dead whales. We can only hope that they wash up on shore in California where they can't be ignored so easily.

[* - How are 2 out of 9 a 'stack'? Simple: Stevens was appointed by Ford, Scalia and Kennedy by Reagan, and of course Souter and Thomas by G.H.W.Bush. That makes 4 loyal to the Bush family - and 7 owe their posting to Republicans. ]

Monday, November 10, 2008

20081110.1128 Astro-Upgrade

It would seem that the International Space Station is about to get a serious upgrade - a new living quarters module.

It would seem also that in an epic Greenwashing effort combined with a cold sense of revenge for the diaper-wearing-stalker incident astronauts will now be required to drink their own urine, not unlike the opening scene from Waterworld...

"Most significant is the water recovery system -- it will turn urine and condensation into fresh drinking water. The system is essential if NASA is to increase the size of the space station crew from three to six. That switch is supposed to occur by the middle of next year."

Friday, November 7, 2008

20081107.1453 Ballmer Disses Android

At a recent event where Microsoft was shown to be teaming up with Telstra, obviously gearing up to make a major play for the mobile space - MS CEO Steve Ballmer expressed his typical hatred for all things open by wondering aloud how Google is expected to make money on Android.

Funny - I've been saying that about the X-Box for years now.

20081107.0832 The Dominoes Tip...

So it goes like this...

First some banks go belly-up. CHECK!
Then panic sets in. CHECK!
Then it becomes very difficult to get a car loan. CHECK!
Then car dealers stop ordering new cars - and start closing up shop. CHECK!
And so the car makers start laying people off. CHECK!

Some one give me a fiddle, I smell smoke.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

20081106.1118 Newt vs. SoX

Newt Gingrich wants to do away with Sarbanes Oxley. We don't have enough financial problems on Wall Street already, we should go back to the Enron model of doing business? Is that what he's saying?

I mouthed off on this topic enough in the article comments section. Just have a read - there is some serious reality-warping logic there.

20081106.1000 Dump AT&T Now. No Seriously.

It would seem that AT&T's new Profit Plan is to charge people by the byte for access to their network. Soon to be gone are the days of unlimited access. AT&T is going to start charging you usage fees based on how much data you send over the wire.

The Story behind this is that supposedly 5% of the users use 50% of the bandwidth. I say that if anyone is using their connection - a service that has an advertised transmission rate - at full speed all month long - then they are simply getting everything that they paid for. The standard line from the ISP's is that you are a 'bandwidth hog' and that you need to be 'capped' for the good of everyone else on the network. Why can't the network handle everyone simply getting everything that they paid for? That sounds like the sort of false advertising that AOL got into trouble for when they tried to sell user accounts into areas where they didn't have the infrastructure to actually support them properly.

This is also a wonderful excuse for them to monitor each and every wire individually - thereby installing the instant eavesdropping service that all of your Three-Letter Government agencies are chomping at the bit to get into the lives of anyone stupid enough to let them.

Think I'm being paranoid? FACT: That cell phone in your pocket can be activated remotely and used as a listening device without your knowledge. You are already bugged. It is only a question of how much attention people want to pay to you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

20081104.1527 Heavy Metal

If you suffer from serious technolust and you want to know what real computing power is, then you have to have a look at the set-up that they are using to handle data from the LHC. 15 Petabytes is nothing to sneeze at. I have to admit to being truly impressed. I just truly hope that some very good science comes out of it all.

20081104.1512 Run Rabbit Run

Just as I missed the opening day at Killington last weekend because I didn't want to pull an all-nighter driving to get to the slopes I come to read this lovely article the explains that I'm about to hit yet another brick wall in the aging process.

Oh joy. Yet another thing to worry about. I guess I'd better start getting busy inventing the vat they're going to have to stick me in before my hands are too feeble to work a soldering iron anymore...

20081104.1500 Indian Robots on the Moon

So it would appear that the Chandrayaan-1 is well on it's way.

What is the sudden new fascination with the Moon? Did the leaders of the world all read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress this summer and finally realize that whomsoever sets up a rock-thrower on the moon first will rule the earth?

One has to wonder. US$80Million feeds a lot of starving people in India. I'm the first person to say that space research is the noblest calling of science today - but it is sort of weird, this new China/India space-race. Most of all because we're also in it and not making a lot of progress.

Monday, November 3, 2008

20081103.0900 Sun is Leaking Cash - is MySQL the Reason

Sun Microsystems, Inc. is the server hardware company that brought us the Java programming language almost by accident and then changed their stock ticker symbol to JAVA even though it is not their core business and they have never directly made any money from it.

Recently they purchased MySQL - a company founded on database software that everyone can download and use for free. Arguably they did so in order to hedge their bets against Oracle, Inc. - the database company that is buying up any small software company that gets fashionable with the Fortune 200 crowd for more than a week. So maybe it was a Good IdeaTM. But they also recently bought NetBeans for a lot of money - which is a program that you use to write Java programs - that you can also download and use for free.

So Sun is really into free software right now. They are also losing a lot of money right now.