April 2006 Archives

Commencement Exercises - Revisited

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Graduation went well and I got a chance to see more old friends. I'm continually reminded that time does not stand still. Coming back to the yard, is very therapeutic, in that I can see not only my growth but that of others. Definitely proud of my cousin and her achievements, she has beaten the odds.

Nonetheless, I did remind her that this only the beginning. Stay focused. As a FAMU alumni, I was also reminded to renew my contributions too ;) I hadn't forgotten, just a bit distracted that's all.

I'll probably connect with more of my friends this evening. Will likely hit the library tomorrow, so that I can grab a few more papers to assist with my thesis. Academia, gotta love it ...

Commencement Exercises

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Despite all attempts to miss my flight (ie late arrival, driving passed the long-term parking location), I arrived in Florida for FAMU's graduation ceremony. I've not been here since 2001, so it should be interesting. Lots of catching up to do.

I also took an opportunity to review the Magellen 750, which is used for the Hertz Never Lost system. A very slick GPS system. I've not used very many GPS products, so it could be that I'm easily impressed. However, I've found the controls and interface to be very intuitive. Besides I have not gotten lost yet, so that must be pretty good.

I'll be around until Monday afternoon. If anyone is in TLH, and wants to connect. Drop me a few lines.

Penguicon 2006

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Alas, I've returned to the annual Penguicon, local reunion of geeks and Sci-Fi fanatics. I spoke about this conference last year. While it seems to get smaller each year, the usual suspects seem to come back each year (ie ESR). Nonetheless, I attended a some pretty decent workshops.

Got a chance to check out a security conversation presented by Tatsuya Murase, and I was definitely surprised by the content. I was expecting a more nuts and bolts, how-to tools discussion. It was more of a strategy and policy discussion. Certainly was not a waste of time. I also caught a portion of the SSL discussion (Bill Childers), as I had to take a break from the sweat box that was called a conference room. The Holiday Inn probably doesn't make much on the attendees for this conference, so the accomodations are pretty sparce. Lastly, I got a chance to get some good ideas for an upcoming improvements to my home LAN backup or archiving strategy. Childers did another talk on BackupPC. He offered some helpful suggestions for my home archiving needs.

I missed some of other interesting talks(ie PHP Security Flavio daCosta), and but I added the presentation to my del.icio.us links for posterity.

Nonetheless, I'm rejeuventatied and humbled each time I attend one of these talks because I always learn that there is much that I still must learn. Maybe I'll get to the LWCE next year.

Can't knock the hustle

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I've always enjoyed the deals that can be obtained on e-Bay. One of these days, I'm going to find the time to completely clean out my basement of unwanted electronics and hardware. However, until that time I suppose I'll remain a buyer and not a seller.

Recently, I purchased a SCSI/USB scanner. I never thought I'd ever have a need for a scanner,but my head instructor at my dojang provided the funding. He asked me to scan some photos for a forthcoming site. Now that classes are done, I might actually have some time to fire up Drupal and get it done.

Well, during my last e-Bay, excursion I got into a frenzied bidding war with some unknown entity. It seemed that each time I placed a bid and refreshed the browser, that random bidder submit one with a 0.50 over mine. I played this game four times, as the starting bid blossomed from $15 to $65 bucks. At this time I said forget it, not worth that much. Then I started googling and discovered that there are actually bots setup by _clever_ sellers. They bid up the merchandise to inflated levels to entice e-Bay newbies to continue bidding. What usually happens is that bot bails out of the bidding at the last minute, and you get stuck with overpriced merchandise. It is pretty difficult for a human to cancel a bid. Hmm.. Why didn't I think of that?

When I learned of this, I immediately, thought about three card monte game. For those of you who don't know (ain't from the streets of NYC), three-card monte is a famous hustle. Basically, you've got to guess which of the three cards will appear after the hustler, err I mean cards holder finishes moving the cards on the cardboard, err I mean table. Not too hard huh? Well, there is usually always one person who wins. So you get excited and you come in and all of a sudden you start losing.
I almost got caught out there. Who knows how high the bid would have become?

Jar Head

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Although, not one of the better films of the year, I do have a few thoughts. As a six-year US Navy veteran, I can certainly attest to the fact that lots of people got 'Dear Jody' letters. The joke was that once the big carriers go out on deployment, the wives typically lost their minds. Pretty sad but true. For the record, I never got a such a letter. I don't think I could've been married during the very long deployments, the time away from family were very tough on relationships.

Both of my 'cruises' were results of the Desert Shield/Storm conflicts. I recall a time where we were at sea for forty-five consecutive days without pulling into port. Pretty nasty stuff. Oh yeah, in keeping with the Navy tradition, we did get a can of beer.

I digress.. Regarding the film, much angst was made to describe the brainwashing that goes into the idea of romanticizing war. I suppose it's necessary to get youngsters to sacrifice life and limb. Another aspect of the flick that was another military reality 'hurry up and wait', that is this idea of moving quickly to be in a constant state of readiness, but not actually doing anything. I do remember spending lots of time steaming around the Red Sea. This must have gone on for months before we finally received the order to fire the Tomahawk missiles. The flick did a fairly decent job describing the monotony preparing for a war that seemed as though it would never happen.

Otherwise, I thought the movie was pretty weak.

Complaints and objections are meaningless if they go unheard. I've never been one to hold my tongue when I disagree with the level of service. I have no problem returning hardware that has performed unsatisfactorly. A couple years ago, I purchased a Jabra BT200 and was very excited about being an early adopter of bluetooth technology. Immediately, I began to notice imperfections in the design and general annoyances (ie talk time, poor transmitter cradle, auto-answer feature inoperable). I initially, chalked it up as early adopter growing pains, but as I began to talk to others who owned the same device, they too had the same problems. Moreover, I spoke with people who purchased competitive products, and they were _not_ having any problems.

links for 2006-04-24

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AmaroK v1.4 beta -Review

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I am an avid music enthusiast, as such I probably have over 5000 titles in my collection. Lately, I've been on a digitizing binge. Actually, I'm afraid that my cherished mixed-tapes will eventually become corrupted due to old age and the rigors of humidity. Previously, I used XMMS, and found it to be very capable of music playback. In fact, with the appropriate plug-ins, it can play any media file you throw at it. It even has plug-in extentions for mplayer, so you can view windows media files, mpeg4, .mov, xvid, DiVX, and AAC/MP4.

links for 2006-04-23

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Understanding the OSS model

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Came across an interesting article in the Economist. I'm always amazed at how pundits attempt to dissect the F/OSS model. The problem is that everyone tries to monetize and create metrics behind a culture that is very different than contemporary approaches to building software or other products.

Yes, there are other industries that have chosen to adopt this model. Whether they will be successful remains to be seen; however, it is clear that this model has been sucessful in the software industry (ie Apache, Linux, Embedded software like the TiVo etc.). The problem I have is that venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are in a race for the next great means of making loot from OSS. It simply isn't a silver bullet. Its methodologies or principles cannot be used for everything under the sun. Most of these people have never read the fundamental books that describe this space ( ie Cathedral and the Bazzar, Just for Fun, etc). An even larger amount have never used OSS, and do not understand how the community works.

Nonetheless, the article does have some interesting points.

Open-source business | Open, but not as usual | Economist.com

Paper Helicopter DOE musings

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As some of you already know, this semester I'm taking a graduate course in Design of Experiments(DOE). We recently performed the very popular paper helicopter experiment. Actually, I had done this experiment in 2002, as part of Six Sigma Green Belt training. After reviewing some literature, I discovered that most researchers did not emphasize the physics of the drag or air resistance. Although, I firmly believe that you must understand first principles or the fundamentals of physics, prior to undertaking a fluid dynamics problem. Otherwise, you're likely to misinterpret the results of your experiment. Statistical tools are fine, but common sense can keep you out of trouble.

Friendster final chapter?

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Yes, I've spoken about this idea of social networks. It really is a tough nut to crack. I never used Friendster or myspace, as I prefer to extend my own network through the blogosphere laced with web2.0 attributes(aka folksonomy).

The author would get more sympathy if she didn't refer to 'Linked-In' users as "brown nosers" or kiss asses... To the contrary, some of those ex-Friendster have grown-up and decided to join a professional social network. I see nothing wrong with that choice at all. I'm not mad at the gang of people that flocked to myspace. Whatever works for you, but all professionals aren't brown nosers.

The premise is that myspace could fall victim to the same ills that subdued the Friendster.
Despite the phenomenal growth of myspace, I've never been tempted to setup an account. Probably because I always viewed it as a place for teens. After doing a bit more research, I discovered that it really is spot for indie artists and bands. The author asserts that its a place for everyone without discrimination.

Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad?. Many-to-Many:

links for 2006-04-15

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Citizen Journalism

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I recently made my first contribution to citizens journalism. Recently, I contributed some of my flickr photos to NowPublic for an article on Hybrid Vehicles.

It seems that rising fuel costs have not only caught the eye of the blogosphere, but the some of the auto industry as well.

links for 2006-04-13

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Only in NYC

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One of the reasons, I love the Gothamist. Always keeps me apprised of interesting news in my beloved city.

I still remember the Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey Circus. Always wondered how those elephants got into that big top.

It was always a little stinky too, but that is life in the big city.

Gothamist: Running of the Elephants 2006

links for 2006-04-11

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links for 2006-04-09

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A Few modifications

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Couple of additions. I added a couple of new headers on the right side navigation menu.
Some of people have told me that it is difficult to find my blog feeds.

We'll I've added the Syndication header to help mitigate the confusion. Secondly, I also included a RSS feed podcast chicklet.

Last but not least, I've added a WML/WAP link for all of WAP enabled cellphones. If you're phone is WAP enabled, you should now have an easier time reading my blog entries.

links for 2006-04-07

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Inside Man

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Another Spike Lee joint. Actually, I believe Inside Man was better than 25th Hour. I wonder why it took so long for Denzel to do another film for 40 Acres? The entire film looked to be done with digital instead of classical 8mm. As we have come to expect with Spike's films, there were at least three different lessons to be learned. So if you pay attention, you might learn something.

Perhaps the best line in the flick, was the questioning of little boy..
The detective asks, "Weren't you scared?" The response from the child, "Nah, I'm Brooklyn..."
Classic. Of course, I had to yell out and speak my clout.. Yeah, boy.. I digress.

There is a huge emphasis on how we treat each other during times extreme drama. I'll leave it at that.

I enjoyed the flick so much that I grabbed a torrent for safe keeping. I understand the film grossed $29 million the first weekend. Not too shabby for a director who drops a film once in a blue.

Strip Mining at the FOSS quarry

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TiVo is a very good example of a company which has taken advantage of Open Source software for its financial gain, without returning some of that value back to the community. Apple's Safari browser also shares the same codebase of the KDE browser Konqueror. Sure some would argue that the Safari code base is so very different that it would essentially be a fork of the original KDE project. However, it has been well documented that Apple used Konqueror as reference in building it fairly popular Safari browser.
Now I understand that Apple has submitted software patents which will likely raise the ire of the KDE developers.

Taking this point a step further, there is also a 'dumping' phenomenon which is described quite nicely by JBoss exec. The idea of returning crap or code that really isn't useful back to the community after a company has reaped high gain. The idea of GPL is to share any and all code that has been modified. GPL V3, will help mitigate this dumping. However, companies will always find other licenses(ie BSD) that give them an easy means of circumventing the original goodness of sharing code. Not very nice at all.

Enter The JBoss Matrix

links for 2006-04-05

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PC vs. the Net

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A friend of mine asked me about a recent move made by the Redmond wooly mammoth (aka M$), including virtualization in its forthcoming Vista release.

I still say that while M$ is beginning to figure out that the value of the PC is diminishing, they won't go quietly. Web2.0 and SaaS are staunch adversaries, that will be very difficult to defeat.

Lots a stuff at play here..

links for 2006-04-03

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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