September 2007 Archives

AG Speaks Episode 12 - Wesley Fryer

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After 3 weeks of processing time, the conversation with Wes is available for download. Our conversation describes the necessity of infusing technology into the classroom. Wesley outlines key enablers and various methods of reaching our youth via digital methods.

As usual the Odeo Flash player is hit or miss. Despite recording with sampling rate of 22khz, the dreaded chipmunk affect rears its ugly head. I will eventually host my recordings elsewhere, not sure why Odeo does not have a more robust solution.

Simply download the audio file and avoid the flash player.

Download mp3 (87.23min || 21MB)
Download Ogg (87.23min || 21MB)


Wesley's site.

Enterprise Zone

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Typically I loathe having to go downtown and deal with the Assessor's office. With the advent of technology it would seem that we could avoid schlepping paper around. Yes, I'm and undercover tree-hugger ;) My neighborhood was selected as an NEZ-H, that is I can anticipate some tax relief for 2008CY. So I was requested to bring copies of my deed, application signed in blue ink, and driver's license.

Initially, I thought it would be easier to simply use snail mail to deliver the required forms. After speaking with people that had already gone through this process, I reconsidered my position. I imagined that I would probably spend 1-1.5 hrs in a long queue. You know the typical sweat box office, dealing with unhappy, and underpaid, city workers. I got down there on Saturday afternoon and was surprised to learn that the office nearly empty. No long line or irate patrons. Aside from the guy sucking on rib bones (apparently on lunch break), nothing unusual. I didn't even run out of time on the parking meter. Absolute nirvana I tell you ;)

It seems that the only reason they ask you to come down to the Assessor's office is to verify your signature. I am quite clear that city legislatures and the CIO of metropolitan areas could figure out how utilize OpenID or some other centralized authentication method to accomplish this feat. I would not be surprised if this already being done in more advanced circles.

links for 2007-09-24

A Beautiful Mind


Though this Ron Howard film was released several years ago, I had never watched it in its entirety. If you enjoy mathematics intertwined with a heaping of intrigue this will be a delightful movie. The writers of the film, A Beautiful Mind, did take a quite a bit of creative license in telling the story of Professor John Forbes Nash. As this very interesting entry would suggest. Nash had bouts with schizophrenia, which the film characterizes as both audible and visual, but in fact were only audible. The movie also highlighted Wheeler Labs, an upper-echelon research facility located on the MIT campus. Although Nash did spend time at MIT in the 1950s, there was no such lab. So, this too was debunked.

You gotta love Hollywood. Why Ron Howard et al, decided to take such liberties with Nash's story? Was he not very interesting? Nash made incredible contributions to Economics and was also a Nobel Laureate. Those facts alone would be enough to keep my attention. I suppose that mathematics and algorithms would be too boring for the average movie goer. What a shame. Despite the obvious "enhancements", I enjoyed the film. As crazy as it sounds, I was nearly fooled by some of the hallucinations depicted in the film. They all seemed quite real and plausible. Well, I guess Howard achieved his goal.

Murderous Row (Redux)

Great ballgame with a clear postseason atmosphere. Although the Yanks may not win their 10th straight AL East title, I do believe they sent a message to the Bosox.
The lefties in our lineup are driving the ball with authority. Unfortunately, Pettitte did not pitch one of his better games, but his teammates picked him up in a big way.

Defensively, there are some concerns for the Bombers. Losing Andy Phillips for the season is blow that could easily rear its head in the postseason. Although, Giambi swings a big stick, he is a defensive liability at first base. He demonstrated this on a big stage last night. Phillips was a great utility player that was a much tougher out than Doug Mientkiewicz. Nonetheless, if given a choice the punchless Mientkiewicz will only be used in the late innings. The question is how many defensive lapses can a ballclub overcome in a short postseason series? Giambi looked almost as bad as Sheffield did last season. Personally, I would platoon Giambi and W. Betemit at first base. Betemit has already demonstrated that he _can_ drive the ball and has decent plate discipline. Certainly not an easy out.

The game was enjoyable but there are still a few question marks. Pettitte will be fine, he just didn't seem to have much command over his location. I was surprised that Torre sent Sean Henn to the mound, as a Henn sighting typically spells doom for the Bombers. Perhaps Torre was attempting to conserve his best bullpen arms (Joba Chamberlain was not available) for rest of this series?

Anyway the rest of this series should be a grind for both club. This series could be another reminder that Bosox would be better off not facing us in the postseason.
Angels have a very tough pitching staff (Shields, K-Rod, etc) are tough, but the way our club is pounding the ball right now.. I like our chances.

Bonus Coverage: Yesnetwork PostGame

links for 2007-09-15

The problem of not following standards


As stated previously, I have begun to track personal finances via GnuCash. It really has been very empowering, since I typically use a spreadsheet to reconcile my budget against monthly receipts. Using the old method it was not possible to capture the cost of utilities, mortgage, and the other bills paid electronically. Despite the fact that I P-Cash application installed on my Treo650, I am unable to sync the data to my desktop financial software application. Sigh, perhaps one day this will become very simple to accomplish. I digress..

Now to the point.. I have noticed that .qif files have document headers which describe the intent of the bank transaction. For instance, if you're downloading data from subsequent debit card or check card you should see !Type:CCard in the header.

The problem arises when your bank delivers files which do _not_ have the required header file. GnuCash is unable to read files that do not include the required QIF header. While I'm very happy that GnuCash adheres to the QIF standard, the only workaround is to manipulate the file. What a royal PITA. After grabbing nearly ten files, I noticed this problem.
Sure I could contact the bank and complain about the issue. The reality is they probably would be clueless. Moreover, the script that they use to generate these .qif files is likely broken, and they will have to get the developer to fix the script. Perhaps costly, dunno.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I found a decent Perl script which inserts the a desired header after reading in a flat text file. I would prefer to use Python, but of course, I'm still learning. I would have thought that this sort of text manipulation would be a prime candidate for awk or sed.. I'll keep digging, simple shell scripting problem for sure.
Clearly I am not interested in manually changing each file, I am much too lazy ;)

links for 2007-09-06

Attack of the Carpenter Ants


My backyard has become a lush grassland and haven for various pests. I take full responsibility for the unkept appearance. Recently, I decided to embark on a scorched earth campaign. There was a large bush which was covered with with carpenter ants which were harvesting honeydew from large aphid colony.

After removing the food source, I noticed the ants seemed to disappear. Luckily, the tree is about 30 yards from the house, but I did not want to take any chances. I purchased some AMDRO pellets, and sprinkle around the garage area. Much time was spent reading various articles on carpenter ants and their various species.

Generally, pellets are not viewed as the preferred method for ridding yourself of these pests. The container stated that it would take roughly one month for the chemical to take effect. To my surprise, I noticed an immediate impact. Within 96 hrs, I began to see what appeared to be drunken carpenter ants. Apparently, the worker drones had carried the pellets into the nest and poisoned several workers. There was even an appearance of 'winged' drones, which I had not seen previously. Lots of buzzing inside of my garage. Perhaps the most important discovery was that the ants had created an elaborate channeled tunnels in the baseboard of the garage. The rotting wood is a by-product of a leaking garage roof. I am thoroughly impressed with the results.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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