Friday, August 31, 2007

I am impressed that Eclipse can display the extended character set

Notepad shows extended character set characters as black rectangles. In the Eclipse IDE, however, show the correct character. The ones that I have were produced by OCR on Dutch books with the Cuneiform OCR product. Java handles the characters without a problem, as that was a design requirement.

Trivia time: what was the name of Anoop Gupta's brother?

Anoop Gupta developed a Prolog implementation for the TI Explorer Lisp machine in the 1980's. I used to know his brother's name (I think of all sorts of goofy things and then try to remember or find the answer). In the latter part of the 1980's, I was doing Defense-related AI work, so I got to talk some interesting people were still involved. By 1990, all that had collapsed. The main thing that I had gotten out of it was a good library of books and papers. Many of the books were recommended to me and the rest I just bought, because I was buying every AI book in sight. I also have copies of a lot of great papers, such as David H. D. Warren's thesis about compiling Prolog and Carl Hewitt's thesis from MIT. I have some off-beat things, such as the Rosie Manual.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My first real glitch with Sprint Mobile Broadband

About 20 minutes ago, I was knocked off my connection with Sprint Mobile Broadband. I use a USB modem to connect, but when I try to reconnect, it tells me that it detects a roaming situation and cautions me against connecting. There are reasons why this is a very odd situation. I have not seen this issue before now.

I sprayed Diet Coke when I read this

Megan McArdle, at her new blog at The Atlantic, quotes a send off on "24" about "ecoterrorism". It is worth reading, as when I read it and laughed, unexpectedly, I sprayed Diet Coke (I guess that is some sort of test).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We had storms today

The "chief meteorologist" for KRLD radio, Brad Barton, had thought that storms today would be off to the east. He was almost right, but from about 3pm, we had strong storms pop up and roar through the Dallas and Fort Worth area. They were gone by about 5:30pm. Still, there was enough thunder and lightning to disrupt power. My two computers were knocked down and the clocks were reset. We needed the rain and we got a good amount. We have not gotten any rain in two weeks. The present forecast, likely to change over time, is for a chance of rain every day for the next ten days. We seem to be into the fall storm season, nationally, not just here. Where my mother lives, they had a strong enough storm that they were without power for over a day (in southwestern Michigan). You have heard about all the flooding, including in Minnesota and Ohio.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We saw a total eclipse of the moon, early this morning

It sounds like song lyrics, but we saw a total eclipse of the moon, early this morning. We are in a full moon phase, but I immediately recognized that we were seeing a lunar eclipse. I called my wife out and we watched as the last sliver of light disappeared before I hit the road. This must have been about 4:30am. Yes, I got up ridiculously early, because my two year old dog started whining about 3:30am. She had gotten me up at 2:30am, and I never got back to sleep. Since I knew that I needed to take care of my son's cats while he is gone, I got going. That is when I saw the moon. The Dallas Morning News has pictures.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I am thinking about getting back into Smalltalk programming

I started programming professionally in Smalltalk in late March of 1992. I depended on Smalltalk consulting for income for much of the 1990's. My last job that involved programming in Enfin and Object Studio Smalltalk was in Minneapolis in 2002 to 2003. I have had some natural language processing code that was in VisualWorks 5i and 7.1, but I don't think that I have a way to run the images. At some point, they started to build in knowledge of paths into images and that seemed to be a very bad thing. When I lost the paths that they images ran in, they "broke" when I tried to launch them. This morning, I sent an email to James Robinson, at Cincom, in the off chance that he will reply and can help. He is seemingly still product manager for Smalltalk at Cincom. In the meantime, I have downloaded Squeak to see if that might be the place I do new Smalltalk development. I had only a small experience with Squeak in 2003 to 2004, when I was still in Minneapolis, and at the time, Squeak underperformed in running my translation code. I don't even know if I will really do this, again, but "it might happen". I have a lot of Dutch text that was created with OCR that I would like to translate in a batch fashion. I have word and phrase dictionaries to use. I just need to get running code, again.

We are glad to see Albert Gonzales resign

We always thought that Alberto Gonzales was in over his head as Attorney General. His predecessor (John Ashcroft) was an idealogical choice. Alberto Gonzales was a reliable friend, but not really up to the job. He has now bailed. Ed Morrissey has more about the story.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beldar taunts Senator Kerry

Bill Dyer ("Beldar") taunts Senator Kerry over the "Swift Boat" controversy. Bill throws down the gauntlet to Senator Kerry and dares him to sue him in Federal Court in Houston.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The job market in software

I get daily emails from with jobs listed from searches. I actually found a job that way two years ago. The Texas job listings right now from Monster seem to be particularly bad. I hear, though, that there are many Java development jobs in the Dallas area. So why the disconnect? I suspect that, as usual, recruiters are finding people for jobs that they don't want to advertise, because they don't want other firms to find out about them. Even before the World Wide Web, that was true. I had started in the consulting business in early 1992, when you had to use one of the services to broadcast your resume to contract companies. Now, you can just post your resume at Monster or one of the other competitors.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sorry, I accidentally posted "the wrong stuff" here

I did not mean to, but I accidentally posted pictures here that were intended for the "Former Naval Person " blog (NSFW).

All my serious commentary has moved to "Former Naval Person Too"

If you are dismayed by what we are doing here, you should look at "Former Naval Person Too", where I am now doing my current events commentary.

This is an old blog post by Frans Bouma, but I think it is still true

If you are lucky, you do not know about SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). In some quarters, this is the buzzword de jour. In my work in earlier 2006, I was involved in two projects that were trying to look credible as SOA's, since the term was so hot among marketeers. My impression is that the thud of it going nowhere is loud, but InfoWorld is still hyping SOA. This old blog post (from 2005, ancient history) by Frans Bouma still seems relevant: "This SOA hype is getting out of hand". To a large degree, this is a "green eyeshade" topic, so you are welcome to go back to sleep. When "web services" didn't totally conquer the world, the marketeers went to work to figure out a better buzzword, so it would. SOA was the result and the rest was history. By the way, Frans's explanation of the SOA in Dutch means "sexually transmitted diseases" (Seksueel Overdraagbare Aandoeningen).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Megan McArdle looks glamorous

In her Talking Heads video with Dan Drezner, I thought that Megan McArdle looks glamorous, even, especially without makeup.

John Mauldin says that we will "muddle through"

While the meltdown in the housing market and sub-prime lending, John Mauldin, at Real Clear Politics, has a long article where he says that we will survive the crisis and will "muddle through".

Return to serious blogging

Where "Former Naval Person" (NSFW) has ended up, I wanted to have a blog for "serious blogging" about current events and politics. "Former Naval Person Too" is now that blog.