Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jokes: Late Night TV - Week of Oct. 29

These are some of my favorites from this week from Jay Leno, Letterman, and Conan. Jimmy Kimmel has some good ones as well, but he comes on really late in the night for me to write them down. A laugh a night is totally worth it! Without much time to read the news these days, why not a good laugh and news bits?


  • Halloween is coming up. That's one day every New Yorker looks forward to - going to your door in the dark and seeing people in masks.
  • Are you watching the World Series? The St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have a young team they say. In fact earlier today Madonna adopted a batboy.
  • Down in Washington, President Bush has approved a plan to build a 700 mile fence on a portion of the Mexican border. He said he also knows where he can find some cheap labor to build it. A long fence on the border. Something like this I just hope Halliburton can get some money out of the deal. Be nice to see something go their way for a change.
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are getting married next month in Italy. Their wedding is going to be at the Leaning Tower of Publicity. Tom Cruise is a thrifty and shrewd guy. To save money on the wedding he's going to stand on the cake.
  • Isn't politics just horrible these days? People are now saying that Hillary Clinton has spent millions of dollars on plastic surgery. She's so good looking now that her husband hit on her by accident last night.
  • O.J. Simpson is writing a novel. Things are going good so far. He's agreed to meet at a Barnes and Noble for a book stabbing.
  • This is Fashion Week in New York City. Fashion Week and the Red Sox have something in common - they both fall apart at the seams.
  • Big news! Britney Spears had her second baby. The mother and baby are doing fine and the baby is expected to drive himself home from the hospital today.
  • A new energy drink is coming out called "Cocaine". That's what it's called. It's made by the same people that came out with the "Black Tar Heroin Protein Bar". If this drink would have came out a week earlier it might have saved Bobby (Brown) and Whitney's (Houston) marriage.
  • According to "ESPN" magazine the Washington Redskins are the most profitable NFL franchise, worth $1.5 billion. The reason being is that in D.C. no one is used to an organization with a game plan and being able to execute it.
  • There are now 300 million people in the United States. That either means we are a strong democracy or we have a poor border patrol.
  • Kim Jung Il is reportedly ecstatic about North Korea's successful nuclear test. He's feeling five feet tall! He's a strange guy. What's up with the pompadour? He looks like Wayne Newton and William Hung had a kid.
  • Florida Congressman Mark Foley has completed one week of his rehab. He has gone seven days without a page.
  • The Army has changed their slogan from "Army of One" to "Army: Strong". A number of other countries have done the same. India is now "We fix more computer by 9:00 AM than most do all day." Switzerland is "See what a pocket knife, scissors, corkscrew and little nail file can do for you." Morocco, "Less talk, more rocco!" And Cuba, "Invading America one raft at a time."
  • Over the weekend Paris Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence. She was smart though. The second she was pulled out of the car she said, "Go Israel!" This time she was put into real handcuffs. Not those fuzzy pink ones she's used to. She's still a celebrity and you can tell she's spoiled. For example in the holding room she got one call and she called room service. This is the most embarrassing thing to happen to Paris Hilton since the release of her CD.
  • There is an initiative in the state of Nevada to legalize small amounts of marijuana. This is the first time marijuana and initiative has appeared in the same sentence. Opponents are afraid of the crime element that legalization would attract to the state. Yeah, between the hookers, alcoholics and degenerate gamblers those are the last people you'd want coming into the state.
  • The population of the United States is now at 300 million. It should be 400 million by Christmas. You can tell who the new people are too - they're the ones that aren't fat yet!
  • President Bush was in Mexico this week. While in Mexico he was greeted with protestors that were wearing George Bush masks. The president was overheard saying, "I don't know who those people are but they look familiar."
  • President Bush is working hard on the Iraq situation. Today he told the Iraqi people to "get governing". Then he went on to introduce his new speech writer, Larry the Cable Guy.
  • Major League Baseball has announced a formal investigation into Barry Bonds alleged steroid use. The investigation will involve looking at a photograph of Barry Bonds.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blizzard to the Rescue

The sight of relief when I looked out of my window this morning! You know what this means: no school and no work today. I had to make sure though - UCCS is really closed for the day. Television reports show numerous other closures across town. There's probably a foot of snow sitting on my car (center foreground in the picture). Change of priorities ... sleep, homework, sleep, laundry, sleep. Thank you God!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dating: How I Met My Dance Partner

This is how I spent today. Little Katie finally had her way. See, her mom left a mismatched pair of shoes for her when she dropped her off, and to get her to do anything or go anywhere this morning, it came down to a deal to do the 'mismatched shoes' thing.
Potentially embarrassing for a professional like myself, but it became a source of good humor. Mostly girls noticed the oddity and said something; guys just didn't care. But most interestingly, this is how I met my next dance date! How odd ... a very unscripted way to meet girls (idea!!).
Lots of lessons in this one - little Katie doesn't have to suffer her mother's mistake all alone. Her biggest fear was what other kids would think at daycare. Last I heard, no incidents.
Lucky for me, I can dance again [though I'm not sure whether I'll go at all - good to make preparations though].

When Morons Defend Our Country

This story [read it here] could go any number of directions blogwise: responsibility, honor, patriotism, stupidity, drugs, military ... but I'm too tired to write anything. All I can do is laugh at these morons who took a military jet all the way to Germany to pick up some ecstacy! Go army!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lose the Cellphones, Dudes!

Finally a reason to stop the habit - the addiction to cellphones! Guys, your very fertility is at stake! What in the world shall we do? [Read full article here].
It actually isn't that bad a deal, as long as you hold the phone away from the crotch. Plus this is 'observational' research, so nothing scientific/causal has been established yet. Begs the question: won't the same radiation affect your brain if cellphones are held to the ear? I remember such a debate a few years ago, and it was largely dismissed that brain cancer could result from cellphone usage.

Things begin to get confusing when the same old news becomes, well, news.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Qwest for Good Free RSS Readers

A few things in this world are really free AND excellent. In the world of software, free mostly means poor quality or perhaps ad-driven - a catch somewhere. In my search for a good RSS reader, I came across several unmentionables, but here are a few that are free and good (except for the issues I mention against them). It is definately true that no free software is perfect!
  1. FeedReader: version 2.90. No simple way to delete headline you just read/don't want. Usually hitting the 'Delete' key takes care of it, but even the right-click popup menu doesn't have a delete option. You are stuck with what gets downloaded until the application purges it. Secondly, dates are displayed unconventionally such as "20:00 19.10." to mean 10pm Oct-19 (hopefully 2006?).
  2. RssReader: version This was was just plain weird. For example, if you selected a headline, it shows that headline's summary in the browser pane (which is okay). Now if you 'Delete' the headline, the next headline automatically selected shows summaries of ALL headlines in the feed! In addition, feeds are organized under an unsightly 'My Feeds' directory which cannot be renamed. [We know these are your feeds ...]. The program doesn't allow you to create new top-level feed groupings to make things worse.
  3. Awasu Personal Edition: crashed as soon as I started it!
  4. HeadlineViewer: crashed every time I tried to delete categories (of feeds).
This short list shows the kind of readers you might come across on a typical search. The observations made are from using each application for less than 10 minutes. 10 minutes is enough time for an average user to accept a program; needless to say, I won't be using the above. The ones that crashed might just be unstable on my operating system (Windows Server 2003 SP1) or version of Internet Explorer (v7), as I didn't see them listed in support pages.
I've been using SharpReader (v0.9.7) for a while now, and I liked it until I began getting scripting problems. Pages that use ActiveX would encounter errors and you'd find yourself responding to several popups notifying you of script errors. Because I have debugger tools installed, it also attempted to 'debug' by opening Visual Studio. Non-programmer users will not appreciate this kind of functionality. Additionally, there's no way to suppress browser errors that happen within the context of the reader.
I highly recommend RSS Bandit (v1.3.0.42), which I started using a few days ago. This is so far the best of the bunch. It's clean and easy to use, and Windows users will like the Outlook lokk and feel. I also like the tabbing feature that allows you to view full stories separate from the headline/preview pane. It even keeps headlines you have deleted in a 'Deleted Items' folder just in case the deletion was a mistake. It's all-around the best reader I have encountered after toying with over 13 RSS readers.
One thing to remember is that all the [Windows] readers so far rely on Internet Explorer, and do not offer a means to change the default browser engine used. I'm a Firefox guy, and this irks me.
Also, a lot of readers come with predefined feeds. HeadlineViewer, for example, came with 738 feeds! Who in the world reads all those?
My reader of choice reads news feeds, blogs, secure sites, emails, and library archives. RSS Bandit even allows you to search amongst the headlines you have, and to bookmark headlines. How nice ... Best of all, this is a product of open-source software development - even more proof that proprietary software may one day cease to be the de facto development platform.
There's plenty of readers you can pay for as well, but I didn't care to review them. Prices are in the $30-$50 range. These likely add enterprise features not exactly avaialble in the free versions. If you hunger for information less than me, there's no need to buy anything.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tech: Serial-Attached SCSI Overview Notes (Part I)

SAS is the latest in storage technology. First there was IDE, then ATAPI, then SCSI and Fibre-Channel, then SATA. SAS is backward compatible with SATA and implements SCSI commands.
  • Devices connected together using phys. A phy is a connection to a physical link.
  • Port = group of one or more phys that share a common address. A port can be connected to multiple other ports as physical links will allow.
  • Protocols:
    • SSP = Serial SCSI Protocol -> communication between initiator and SAS device.
    • STP = Serial Tunneling Protocol -> communication between SAS host and SATA target.
    • SMP = Serial Management Protocol -> management of expanders and the service delivery subsystem.
  • Expanders can host up to 128 devices, but can also be cascaded to support up to 16385 devices.
  • Device = initiator, target, expander, or anything else that can be addressed (including virtually).
  • Expander routing:
    • Direct = when device is directly attached to expander.
    • Table = when device is known to expander via one of its phys/ports, not direct-attach.
    • Subtractive = not directly attached or routing table missing/no entry.
  • Types of expanders:
    • Fanout = addresses of all devices in the domain known to expander. Uses direct or table routing, no subtractive routing.
    • Edge = devices known to expander are direct-attach only. Uses subtractive routing for unknown addresses, table routing or direct addressing for knowns. Can have 0 or 1 subtractive ports.
    • Edge expander device sets = combination of fanout and edge working as one unit; follows edge expander rules.
  • Domain = contains all devices that can directly interface; logical representation of devices.
  • An expander without zoning can only exist in one domain; devices with multiple ports can exist in more than one domain.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Honorable Mention

There're very few days I find enjoyable and dreadful at the same time, and today was one of them. The highlights:
  1. The brainwashcafe blog recognizes my blog as one of the smartest. (#2 on their Editor's Top 10 Brainy Picks). Totally made my day. Their blog is a sort of 'blog police' with a diversity of topics and very entertaining. [Enjoyable].
  2. My patent has been accepted for review, which means I start getting monetary benefits of having an idea. Whether it gets ultimately approved or not by the US Patent Office remains to be seen. Because it is a matter of company confidence, it shall not be discussed here. Problem is ... this becomes the paperwork phase and we start the typical waiting period of 3 years before approval. [Enjoyable].
  3. I have 4 exams in the next 3 days! Physics, calculus, philosophy, and assembly language. 3-hour nights and a permanent membership at my favorite study spot (a coffee shop included) ensue. Then a zombie life ... and a full day of sleep on Sunday. If I miss any other appointments, excuse me. [Dreadful].
  4. Soggy brain syndrome - my term for attempting to study so much in so short a period and ending up with so little for so much time spent studying. Apart from school work, I do a lot of technology related studies and research for work. Retension begins to become a problem at this rate. Or maybe I'm growing too old for new stuff. [Dreadful]
  5. Friends - yay! All you friends that call me and cheer me up. Of all days, I received mail from two long-lost friends from high school. They say good news from afar is like a breathe of fresh air. [Enjoyable].

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hunger for Information

At some point last week, my RSS reader was monitoring 138 feeds! I don't now what's come over me, but I always want to be 'in the know', so I monitor everything from news feeds, friends' blogs, entertainment musings, jokes, devotionals, and other international items of interest.
The ease of reviewing all this information from one place (namely the RSS reader) helps, but it can become an obsession. I don't know how many hours I spend daily reading the latest, but it's getting to unacceptable levels. There's just too much interesting information out there that it'd become an almost part-time job to stay completely updated.

This week mission: to trim the number of feeds I read to less than 50! Still a lot by most people's standards, but I'll consider it the absolute information I need to gain some peace of mind. Plus I get to eliminate the numerous newsletters I had been receiving via email - most of them have RSS feeds that I can add to my reader.

Using a reader has also saved me countless hours that I'd have spent surfing the web to find these news items and other updates. Even with reduced surfing, the hunger for information seems to have increased ...

Music: With Mark Gersh

We host a lot of talented recording artists at my church (Woodmen Valley Chapel), but I've never been so completely enthralled by anyone - except Kim Hill - than I was this weekend with the Grammy-winning artist Mark Gersh. ( Review)
For a man with so many accolades and musical accomplishments, he is accessible, down-to-earth, and very personable. Backstage during services, I had the opportunity to chat with him and learn about his life and his experiences in big music. At that point, I didn't even know of all his accomplishments, but when I found out, I was struck by how humble he is.
Musically, he's an authority on how church music should be done. He did beautiful renditions of music we've overplayed that it always felt as if we were playing those songs for the first time. It gets even better - he gives the band total freedom to engage their instruments to their liking, as long as it fits musically. I went beserk on my bass guitar this weekend; in fact, I didn't even have sheet music because we all became non-conformist, playing by ear and from the heart more than anything. I'm sure everyone appreciated his criticing and arrangments - it was a truly amazing band experience.
He did his song "Breakdown" during the services, an emotional rollercoaster that spoke to many in the congregation.
It is for opportunities like sharing the stage with Christian recording artists that I'm inspired to continue to excel at my instrument and learn from these icons in Christian music. I feel blessed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Notes: The Power of Words

For many, the use of words in speech and text happens without a thought to the implications thereof, especially is social or casual environments. Professionally and academically, sufficient effort is supplied to proof reading and peer review to make sure the words express exactly what is intended.
Words are powerful - perhaps more powerful than we may realize.
  • Taming the tongue is vital to complete self control. A reckless tongue can corrupt a whole person. The tongue is full of poison; no man can tame it. (Jas. 3:1-12).
  • Words have the power of life and death. (Prov. 18:21).
  • Words have the power to do good - well-considered words are 'life to the soul' (Prov. 16:24).
  • Words have the power to do harm - inconsiderate words 'pierce like a sword' (Prov. 12:18) and careless talk like 'a sharpened razor' (Ps. 52:2).
Proper use of words requires some skill, especially in situations where admonition, correction, or contructive criticism are required. When directed to loved ones in that context, they are not intended to do harm because 'wounds from a friend can be trusted' (Prov. 27:6). Such use encourages growth and renewal, even if it might involve some pain. (2 Cor. 7:10).
Be careful how you communcate with people ... words can make or break, even when that's not the intent.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Entertainment: "Scrubs" (Season 1)

Just got done watching season one, and this show is hilarious. Ever thought of something and seen it with your mind's eye, and wished it could just happen? "Scrubs" makes it happen. Visual imagination, wicked comedy and hints at real issues are what make this show happen for me. Of course I'm a sucker for medical TV shows, but this one is really funny. In the end, you don't even remember the medical topics they covered. It all looks authentic though.
Male Character = Dr. Turk (Donald Faison)
Female Character = Dr. Elliot (Sarah Chalke)
Episode = One where they do a "West Side Story" musical piece - doctors vs. surgeons.
Moment = Final season scene that summarizes the whole season in 40 seconds.
Sizzle = Turk/Carla relationship.
Fresh Face = Jordan (Christa Miller Lawrence).
I'm certainly going to watch other seasons later. They are currently in Season #5. Beware the spoilers on the Wikipedia. This is one of the ways I de-stress ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dating: Breaking Up ...

My first post on dating starts with notes on breaking up! What an omen ... I don't know how people do it, but breaking up is hard! It sucks both ways - when you have to dump someone, or when you get dumped. I've had my fair share of both experiences, and I'd hate to put anyone through it. I'm tough, I say, because I can easily shrug off a relationship and move on. But by the time I actually get to do the deed, I find out that I care about this person a lot. I procrastinate, drag it out, and continue to lead her on.
Is there ever a good way to break up? Some things I've done:
#1. Stop communicating: you hope she'll get it that you are no longer interested.
#2. Give her a reason to dump you: so you don't have to do the deed yourself. She'll feel better that she got the final word.
#3. The friends corner: guys also have it. Very few friendships of this nature last at all, so you know she won't be around long. As Chris Rock rightly said it, women hate women - she won't stand your next girl.
#4. Being too busy: although I've really been busy sometimes to maintain relationships, there are times I used busyness to sabotage relationships. It works all the time because I really am busy.
These are all mean ways, I know, but no one ever gets schooled in the proper way to break up. Experts suggest that you be completely honest, avoid dating other girls until you complete the breakup, don't do it in a public place, write down what you feel, don't feel guilty, and don't pick a fight. All these are more work for a dirty deed, making it understandable that most people would rather do the mean-4.
The bottomline is this though: it's in both your interest to end the relationship cleanly. For me, most of the girls are people I encounter daily (at church, work, school, etc), so as good as a breakup can be, I try my best. Plus, your ex probably knows you better than your other friends, so why not stick around if only to prevent airing your dirty laundry or for some understanding when you really need to say something?
Oh, and remember to get all your stuff from her - including music, movies, books, and most importantly, money. Once it's over, you'll never see these things again - unless she's a nice girl.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Work: Jaspora Comments Module Upgrade

This week I start upgrading the comments module in Jaspora. This is no simple upgrade - I am also setting a precedence for future development on Jaspora. In this effort, the plan is to satisfy all user requirements, upgrade the code to the 1.x code path, dress up the module (presentation), and have all required documentation for the module and how it interacts with the rest of Jaspora.
Documentation is especially important because to this day, Jaspora is not documented. It'd be a nightmare for my successor - even the source code itself is largely not well documented. For an experienced software developer, this is a shame. I have my reasons, of course, but it's time I started doing things right.
First things first = creating a software requirements specification. I'm all over the web today looking at samples and learning how to write one for a real application. I took a Software Engineering class last semester and if I had been paying attention, I wouldn't need to waste time relearning how this is done.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Programming: Back to UML

When I took System Engineering I at school last semester, all I cared about was passing the class - not necessarily learning the material. I had already designed Jaspora and most of the material covered how to design enterprise projects like it. Consequently, I skipped class a lot and didn't care much for the notes - though I passed well in the end.
I'm beginning to redesign the Comments module in Jaspora, and the plan is to have it fully documented - complete with use case, class, activity, data flow, data source, and source code - in addition to the usual software development life cycle elements. I'm exploring whether using UML tools should be something I do regularly.
Tool of choice: Sun Java Enterprise Studio 8 (obviously built on NetBeans). It has an excellent assortment of UML tools, code synchronization, and reverse engineering of projects. Tutorial focus at