Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams Firing...

I haven't said anything about this because I didn't have anything to add to the reams of stories already out there, and I figured it would be obvious to my readers where I stood on it.  But I just finished viewing this video of Juan Williams own reaction (below), which I think is worth viewing in its entirety.

There are several possible outcomes from this imbroglio:
  • Juan Williams gets a better job.  Done: he's accepted a full time role at Fox News that came with a considerable raise.

  • NPR loses it's government funding.  I think this would be great, but it's not likely.  By the time Congress could act on this, the fervor will have all but died down.  Dang it!

  • NPR's incredibly under-qualified CEO could lose her job.  This seems likely to me, if there's any justice in the world.

  • NPR could fire a bunch of its other propagandists journalists, in order to appear fair to Juan Williams.  Unlikely, I think.  More likely: these journalists will start looking for other work, feeling at risk after Juan Williams' treatment.

Angle vs. Reid and Obama...

Obama was in Nevada yesterday, stumping for Harry Reid – who is fighting for his political life against Sharron Angle.  I know very little about Angle other than that she's been endorsed by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.  Given the alternative (Reid), I'd take just about any candidate in opposition, so long as he or she could beat Reid.

But one thing that's becoming obvious about Angle: she and her supporters have money to spend, and they're waging a very effective campaign.  This ad was released (I believe) on Thursday afternoon, just before Obama's arrival.  It's simply brilliant, using Obama's own words combined with news images to tie both Reid and Obama to Nevada's current disastrous economy:


Usually we get the first grass poking up in February or March, after the rainy season is underway.  I noticed yesterday that we've got grass growing right now, in a thick blanket that's an inch tall this morning.  The recent rains, combined with the relatively cool, damp summer, must have tricked the grass seeds into germinating now instead of on the usual schedule. 

I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news!

November 2 You Vote!

Via my mom, an oldie-but-goodie that seems particularly apt this election year:
While walking down the street one day a US Senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. The Senator's soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator.

St. Peter says, "Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules", replies St.Peter.

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven," St Peter says.

So, 24 hours pass with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and the 24 hours in heaven passes by and St Peter returns.

"Well, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now which will you choose for your eternity?" St Peter asks.

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers, "Well, I never would have thought it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be happier and better off ... in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted."
Vote on November 2. This year, especially, your vote has consequences...

My Company Is Growing... had just 40 employees when I started working there three years ago; now it has over 200.  The company's current location in Solana Beach is getting cramped, so it has leased new office space:
Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, San Diego’s market leader in commercial real estate services, today announced that has signed a 96 month lease for office space in the Carmel Valley Corporate Center. The value of the lease was not disclosed.

The building, located at 12225 El Camino Real in Del Mar Heights, is owned by Kilroy Realty Corporation and is part of two, two-story office buildings totaling 115,513 rentable square feet of Class A office space. leased Suites 100 and 200 in the building, which is approximately 37,200 square feet.
We're moving sometime next year.  Onwards, to infinity and beyond!

Programming Language Trends...

Tiobe has been tracking the popularity of various programming languages for nine years.  Their index is based on search engine hits.  The notion is that the number of web sites about a programming language is a proxy for that language's popularity.  I can see some potential issues with this idea (for example, Pascal is popular amongst academics, and one could imagine they're more likely to create web sites), but in general I think it's likely to be reasonably accurate.

At right is the current index (click to enlarge).  For the entire lifetime of the index, Java and C are jostling for first place honors.  There are just a few interesting trends that jump out at me as I stare at this:
  1. C++ seems to be in a slow, steady decline.  This is consistent with what I hear from my peers.  I'd be leery of commiting long-term projects to it. 

  2. C's share has been climbing for several years now.  I speculate that this is because of the rise of mobile platforms, many of which use C (though this is now starting to change). 

  3. C#'s popularity is slowly and steadily climbing.  I'm not entirely sure what this means.  The language is very similar to Java, but is specific to Microsoft platforms.  I'd be very curious to see a breakdown in the interest between enterprise developers, academic developers, and hobbyists.  In my contacts with enterprise developers, I do see C# used, but not extensively – its ranking here is higher than I'd expect from what I see in that world.  So I wonder if it's used a lot by academics or hobbyists...
  4. Objective C is rapidly climbing.  In this case, the reason is obvious: this is the language of choice on Apple's mobile platforms (iPhone, iTouch, iPad), and those devices are attracting hordes of developers.  It will be interesting to see if Android's (which uses Java) recent rapid growth reflects in Java's numbers next year.

  5. Python has been slowly and steadily climbing for years now.  I know that Python is very popular amongst IT organizations; I know lots of sysadmins who swear by it.  But I've never seen it used for any other purpose.  I'd love to know if this growth is entirely within IT, or if Python is being adopted by some other group that's helping drive this growth...

WTF? This is Google's Fault?

I'm having trouble seeing what this flap is all about.  The facts in the story are this: Google sends it's “Street View” vehicles up and down every street and road in the world, recording photos that can then be seen on their online maps.  It's a wonderful feature that I use all the time.  These vehicles record not only the photos, though; they also keep a record of the wireless networks they happen to see as they're cruising by.  These days, practically every house has one. I'm not sure what Google is planning to do with this information, but it's just stuff in the airwaves that they're picking up – the same way that anyone who drove by could do.

Somehow, some people are interpreting this as a violation of their privacy.  This is the part that completely escapes me.  Two factors argue against any expectation of privacy.

First, the wireless data is stuff that the homeowner chose to broadcast.  Suppose the homeowner chose to hang a large sign outside their house, and on that sign ws the homeowner's bank account number and access password.  Would we expect that information to be private?  I think not!  Would we expect the homeowner to behave like that?  Only if they were morons!

And this leads directly to the second factor: this wireless information is very easily secured.  Every wireless router (the gadget that lets you create a wireless network at home) has a simple means to encrypt the information broadcast on the network.  All any homeowner has to do is turn this encryption feature on, and then neither Google nor any other passer-by can read that information.  Why doesn't everyone turn this on?  I haven't the foggiest idea, but I can't see how that failure can in any way become Google's problem...

New Black Panthers Incident Finally Hits Lamestream Media...

The Washington Post (of all places!) “broke” the story.  The scare quotes are there because of course this story has been all over the blogosphere for two years, and outlets like the Wall Street Journal covered it as well – but the mainstream media has studiously ignored the story, giving cover to the Obama administration generally, and Eric Holder in particular.  At best, it's a shameful story of a crime covered up.  At worst, it's a first step toward a Russian-style thugocracy.

I don't have many kind words for the likes of the Washington Post, but this time they deserve credit for airing this disturbing story.  Probably this is less a reflection of their good intentions, and more a reflection of Obama's fall from grace in their eyes...but that's ok, too.

An Odd Sort of Morning...

Though this morning I had no particular reason to get up early, I woke up at 3 am anyway.  Dang it!  Debbie is up north competing this weekend, staying with friends north of Temecula.  She's got Miki (who's entered in the competition) and Race (who's going along to acclimate him to the show environment), so I'm at home without my wife and with just two dogs (Mo'i and Lea).  It felt a little empty around there this morning...

But Lea and Mo'i and I went out for our morning walk as usual.  The sky was clouded over nearly completely – in the eastern sky I could see but a single star (probably Sirius, from its position and brightness).  High in the southwest sky, though, I could see the disk of a full moon through the gauze of the thin cloud layer.  The clouds were scudding quickly in a wind from the west, and nearly the entire sky was brightly lit by the moon's glow.   The result was quite a bit of light in our yard – enough to see clearly without a flashlight, and for objects close to my face I could even make out a bit of color.  The light was coming from every direction, so there were no shadows. 

Mo'i and Lea were nose down, very intently sniffing for the entire walk.  Even for me, the morning air was full of spicy aromas.  Some were clearly chaparral plants, but others I fancy were of animal origin.  The dog's behavior reinforced that notion.  I suspect we were visited by some beast or other last night...

The crickets and frogs, who have been silent the past few mornings, were in full-throated chorus this morning.  I heard a new frog sound this morning, so I'm guessing that another species has joined the morning crowd.  This new sound seemed to be coming from the north, which is downhill from our house.  Probably these new frogs are in the woods around the creek below us; that creek has just started trickling after our recent rains...

Coming back into the house, I heard lots of meowing – all five cats that live in the house were sitting on top of the cat tree in our living room.  That's where we keep the cat food bowl, and it was empty.  The meowing was their way of letting me know that they wanted food, and right now!  I got their food...