Web: Twenty Questions

The computer guesses what you are thinking of at 20Q.net.

I'm impressed. It did pretty well. It surprised me and was able to guess Sugar glider. The surprising thing was the list of questions didn't seem obvious to getting the correct answer.

I was able to stump it once, and make it go into extra questions twice. It is fun!

My Robots - Point-to-Point

Working on creating my own digital electronic borads using point-to-point wiring method.

Follow the link above to my Robot-oriented sub-blog to see this picture and the rest in the series.

March 2002 - I was on my way to creating a set of two digital electronic boards. The first is an I/O board. This board is responsible for decoding and buffering data on the address bus. It has 1 output port, 6 bits and 1 input port, 8 buffered bits, on the board, for use as a 6x8 switch matrix.
It also has outputs to drive up to 7 more 8-bit output latches - this is for the motor driver board.

The motor driver board uses 5 8-bit latches and 5 dual H-Bridge chips. In practice, only 6 bits of the 8-bit latches are wired to the H-Bridge chips, thus 2 bits per chip for a total of 10 output bits are unused. Later I realized that I was not taking any advantage of the built in PWM on the HC11, so I will have to write my own dynamic version of PWM using some sort of interrupts if I want to have good control over motors.

Sharing Your Wireless on Purpose

I belong to a local email list about Linux. A while back there was a question going around about ISPs. One user posted a note about a DSL company that not only allows servers, but has a method to share your wireless network with your neighbors. They call it Netshare. You set a rate for your neighbors to get online via a wireless hub connected to DSL. Speakeasy bills your neighbors. Speakeasy cuts your DSL bill. You are the local admin for your neighbors, setting up the wireless on their computers.

Linux-Powered Auto Parking Car

An article on Slashdot shows a Linux-Powered Auto Parking Car. Video


Geek Humor

I laughed out loud when after about 5 seconds I got TidBits: One Question Geek Test

Pictures: DTC Infrastructure

DTC - 2001-10-26 - Lots of grafitti in this water tunnel

See my Pictures blog 2004-06-29 for 31 pictures of DTC Infrastucture primarily showing water features.

Technology: PHS - WiFi

I had a friend ask me lately if I knew what PHS was. I didn't, so I did a quick search. The first article made me think it was a Japanese version of BlueTooth.
But after looking a little more, it seems that PHS is the nickname for "Personal HandyPhone System". A type of cell-phone/digital network standard.


Pictures DTC and Robotics

Going back in time to when I first got my digital camera. It didn't take long before I started trying to take 'artistic' pictures. I took these the second day. I love the fact that I can take all sorts of pictures with my digital camera, and it doesn't matter if they don't come out that well. It gives a sense of freedom to be able to take all sorts of chances taking pictures.

These are pictures I took near where I was working in Denver Tech Center. (DTC is South of the City of Denver, along Route 25.)

Denver Tech Center North End - From the Park 6/18/2001

Denver Tech Center - Waterfalls in park, Sprinklers 6/18/2001

Denver Tech Center - water channel through park 6/18/2001

Denver Tech Center - Watercourse through a park 6/18/2001

Going forward in time a few months from above, I started taking pictures of robots I was working on:
See my Roboton sub-blog for prototyping robotics, 3/22/2002


My Blog Friends Link Page

I have added a new sub-page with a list of links to Friend Blogs.

I also put an XML icon link to my RSS/Atom feed.


Roboton - News & Pics

I have created a new sub-blog called Roboton. I will use this blog for new, opinions and any of my robot-related pictures I feel like sharing.

Look for a lot of pictures in the future!


Pictures: Scenery Around the Scar

A bunch of pictures I took, hiking up from Glen Eryie, up the boulder (scree) field onto the Scar.

Scar: Eroded rocks, trees and view of mountains

Scar: Facinating erosion patterns

Scar: In case you weren't sure it was a quary - some of the rocks still have drill holes

Scar: Closeup on rocks - Emphasis on rock breaking up in bands

Scar: Looking down boulder field. Turns out that these boulders are scree - discards from the old scar quary

Scenery - Glen Eyrie-Scar: I was facinated by the way the clouds mirrored the ridgeline

I have used about all my good pictures from my laptop hard drive on my blog. I will have to start either taking more pictures or going into my archives (or both!). I have a bunch of pictures I took walking around Denver Tech Center backed up on CD, so you may be seeing those soon!
I am also thinking of starting another side-blog, for pictures related to robotics, and not posting them on my main blog like these pictures.

Emergency Emails

Get emails about emergencies. They give lots of weather warnings. You can select by county for your area.

I even forwarded it to my cell phone for a short while. But stopped that when a storm came through causing 6 emails waking me up between 12:30am and 2am. It might be nice if there was a filter to only send highest level emergency emails overnight to a mobile text message device.


Hail Father's Day

This year we switched Father's day and Mother's day. So in our house it was Mother's day Sunday. I made Yael breakfast in bed. Then she got her gifts. The main gift was a record player. Yes a phonograph. We had one back in NJ that got cranky and stopped working. We didn't bring it with us when we moved to Colorado. So for years we have had records that we couldn't play. Now we can again!

We had friends come by later. Then we went out for lunch. The two dad's got free food for father's day. When we were leaving, the sky looked a bit dark, and it rained on the way back. Then a couple of blocks from the house it started to hail. Usually hail lasts for about a minute or two then moves on. This time the hail lasted about 10 minutes. That gave me a chance to take a few pictures...

Hail on the Driveway

Tree Across the Street During Hail and Wind

Enduring Hail Attempting to Proect a Car

Hail on the Ground and Grass

Hail and Blue Skys


Reflecting on Hiking Pikes Peak

We got up very early in the morning for the hike: 3:45 AM. We wanted to get on the trail earlier than the rest of the group to make sure we had extra time to complete the hike. Our babysitter showed up at 3:50 -- right on time!

We got in our cars and drove over to the massage school. We left the minivan to be driven up to the top by one of the non-hikers, that way there would be more room to drive people down.

Then we drove down to Route 24. Up past Manitou Springs. Around through Woodland Park. Then South again on 67 towards Cripple Creek. Up until this point, it was rainy and mostly cloudy. But we started to see some sky through breaks in the clouds, as the sun rose. About 5 miles down 67, we turned left toward the mountain. We drove up to Craigs campground.

They have a self-service board for day parking. It cost $4. I filled out the envelope, and put it in the marked post. We put the receipt on the dashboard, and drove up about another 1/2 mile to the trailhead parking area. There was a one person already parked and getting ready to hike. He was not part of the group we were hiking with. As we were gearing up, another car pulled up to park. Also not with the group.

We got on the trail about 5:30 AM. We were quickly passed by the first person. It was good that Yael knew where we were going, as the trail forks a short way up. The harder way to the left turns out to be a dead end. And we learned later that park of the massage group wound up taking the wrong trail for about a half mile. We went to the right and crossed the stream. There was a cut little bridge made of a tree cut in half, with the flat sides up and together. We hiked up the gentle, slightly rocky path, through the trees. Starting at 10,000 feet, we were already in an area that consisted of only pine trees.

The air was damp and cool. You could see fog or clouds swirling on the rock formations that jutted high up to our left. I decided to stay in my short sleeve shirt, and endure the cold. That way I would not heat up too much. I knew from past hiking that I can lose a lot of water when I heat up. I figured I would get plenty hot as the trail steepened, and when we got into the sunlight.

I had packed extra liquid because I was sure I would need it. I had managed to go through my full camelbak 70oz/2L just hiking for less than 2 hours on previous days. So in my pack I had my 2L water bladder from my camelbak, a 1L water bottle on the side, a 1L bottled water and 2 1 pint Gatorades. I also had about 10 trail bars, a zip-lock of mixed nuts and 2 apples. I also had a light sweatshirt, a windbreaker, extra socks (in a ziplock), waterproof pants that were purchased just for the trip and long johns. I also took along SPF45 sunblock, which I applied at the trailhead and left behind in the car. Yael has a small SPF30 with her if we needed later. I wore a baseball style cap.

The trail started getting a little steeper and rockery after a short while. The trees thinned just a little. At this time we were passed by the people who drove up right after us. It was a gentleman with his two boys. His accent matched where he said he was from: Australia. But the boys didn't. Seems they live in Boulder. They slowly passed us as the trail became a bit steeper. At this point we began taking small breaks to catch our breath. Even though we live at 7,000 feet, going above 10,000 feet is enough to feel the difference.

I was not all that winded yet. We were staying at a pace where I was just starting to feel like I was just barely beginning to feel a little short of breath. I also didn't heat up much at all. I felt just a tiny bit hot where the backpack rested on my back. The hike became rockier and steeper. We had some other guys pass us. They had a GPS, and said we were at 11,500. We knew that the massage group was suppose to start about an hour behind us. We debated how long it would be before they passed us. We thought they might pass around 7AM or so. But we also hoped to get above the tree line before they passed us.

Just before 8AM, we finally hiked into sunlight. The trees were mostly thin, and short at this point. We were slowly getting above the tree line. At about 8:35 we finally were definitely above the tree line. We saw a large group behind us for a while. At 9:05, a large part of the massage group caught up with us. Then they continued on ahead of us. It seems it was a good plan for us to start earlier. It turns out the group took even longer to get on the trail. It took them some time to get to the trailhead. Then there was a line to use the one bathroom before they started.

We were now passing into areas with small snow patches. The air was getting colder and thinner. The wind was picking up a little. Finally at 9:35 we entered an area of easier hiking. By 9:45 it was a gentle slope, and we were able to keep hiking without having to stop to catch our breath. Even though we had hiked hard, and were now in sunlight, I was not getting hot. Between the wind and dropping air temperature, I was staying a cool. Maybe a bit too cool. I few times I switched the hiking pole to my left hand so I could put my other hand in my pocket. After a while I gave up, and put on the light knitted gloves that Yael was smart enough to pack for us. I was very glad for those gloves. Eventually I put on my sweatshirt too.

At 10:10 we reached Devil's Playground. The sign says the area is named that because of the way lightning jumps around the rocks. This is the point where he trail we took from the West side of the mountain meets up with the Eastern trail, Barr Trail, at the car road, Pikes Peak Highway. This was supposed to be a meeting place for the different groups of the massage school. There was one person there with a radio. Everyone went on. And I don't blame them: the wind was really strong by this time. Standing around was cold. The trail follows along side the road for the most part for the rest of the hike. Occasionally the trail veered to the left and the road to the right.

At 10:45 we got our first view of the summit. At times it was hard to tell where the trail was. It would lead through a large open space with rocks. Sometimes you could see the cairns that helped mark the trail. It wasn't too big a deal to eventually find the trail again. You just kept trudging towards the summit. By this time the cold and lack of oxygen -- and wind! -- were definitely taking a toll on me. I was feeling lightheaded and was not getting warm. So I added my windbreaker. That helped a huge amount to keeping warm in the wind. I decided not to put up the hood yet, as I still didn't want to overheat. I was amazed at how the clouds were whipping over the peak.

At 11:45 the whole summit came into view along the road. And the road was the place to hike. The trail went off into the boulders and got very, very steep. And Yael said she didn't think she could make the steepness. I figured if we stayed on the road, it would be possible to be picked up by car if things got too tough. If we were in the boulders and things got too tough it could be very hard to solve. But it turns out the road is not the place to be. A ranger drove up and told us we couldn't hike along the road. Yael asked if she could be driven to the top. The ranger said she would be back.
Yael kept hiking along the road and was less than a 1/2 mile on the road from the top when she got her ride.

It was about 12:15 PM, when I headed over by myself to the steep boulder field. Normally hiking up a boulder field sounds like fun to me. But I was surprised at how much the thin air was affecting me. And I was getting a bit weary. But I knew I should be able to make it. So I pushed to catch up to the group of people from the massage school that were a bit ahead of me.

I was not alone in needing to stop about every minute to catch my breath. All the other people were doing that too. But it seemed like every time I got near the group, that was when they left. I felt a little snubbed. But considering the effort and condition, I understood wanting to move on to get to the top. So I put in a bit more energy and passed the bunch of them. I actually managed to come up with an interesting pace: I got myself into a mode were I just took a step and took a micro-rest, then took another step, and another micro-rest. I only needed to take a full breather every few minutes this way,

As I neared the top, someone waved to me: it was Yael. This was the point where I bottomed out on my water in my camelbak. While I had shared a Gatorade with Yael on the trail much earlier, I was really surprised at how little liquid I needed. I guess it was because I stayed so cool. It means I didn't have to lug the extra 2 liters of water and the extra pint of Gatorade. But it always makes sense to have extra water. I know I can be sensitive to being dehydrated.

A few more minutes and I summited at about 12:50pm. Then I just sat down for about 5 minutes. That put me at the summit about 10 minutes ahead of schedule :) -- the massage group was supposed to meet at the top at 1:00 PM. The others trickled in over the next 10 minutes.

Then we went into the summit house. Finally out of the wind! I spent a few minute meeting people in the group. The group decided it was time for pictures. On the ay out we bought some fudge and I quickly pressed a penny on my way out. My souvenir of the hike. That and I picked up a half dozen small stones to show my kids.

We took the group picture. Well pictures. Just about everyone must have had a camera along. It took over 5 minutes to go though the most of the cameras. And this was with the 3 non-hikers taking pictures. Finally it was time to head down. I was the driver for our minivan. I quickly switched to my sneakers that I had left in the minivan. It seems there were more people than they anticipated on the hike. Our minivan seats 7. We had 10 people. There was a large group in a pickup truck. And I hear 2 people hitched a ride and wound up regretting the way the driver took some guardrail-less turns on two-wheels.

I had forgotten how long the road down was. And besides being weary, I was tired. Not only had I gotten up before 4AM, but I was short on sleep from the work week. I could have used a nap. But I was also still a little pumped up from the hike.

At the bottom of the mountain, we went down to 8 people in the minivan. Yael and another passenger went off to get a ride back with others to the Craigs to pickup the cars left behind. I dropped the rest of the group at the Barr Trailhead parking, right by where the Cog Railway starts.

Then a quick ride home. A quick shower. Then I took the kids with me back to the massage school for a multi-celebration.

I did it! I hiked pikes peak! And I'm psyched to do it again! This time I'll know to plan more for the cold.



Here is a neat site: iWorkWithFools.com. Where people anonymously share work related stories. Some of it is just people whining. But some of the stories are interesting and funny!

If nothing else, by comparison, it might just make you feel better about the craziness you have at work.


Pikes Peak

I've been to the top of Pikes Peak a few times now. We've driven up a few times.

But yesterday was different. I did my first fourteener.
What does that mean? It means I hiked up Pikes Peak.

We hiked from Craigs campground. That means we started a little higher, and the trail was a bit shorter than the most popular trail. But that also mean it was steeper.

I've been wanted to hike Pikes Peak for a long time. We did it as part of Yael's Massage School group. It seems about 40 of us made the hike! See the last picture in this entry.

View down to Colorado Springs - Cloud Covered

Pine Trees, Mountain, Clouds to the West

Look how far we've gone!

First View of Pikes Peak from the Trail

Getting Closer to the Peak

The Hardest Part at the end

Made it!! View from the Top

We All Made It!! CIMT Group Photo At The Peak
See the other group picture on my photos-blog


Pictures in Palmer Park, Jan 2004

We went hiking Jan. 31 in Palmer Park, located near the center of Colorado Springs. Each picture is clickable for larger 1024 image.

Looking up at another rock formation in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs

Closeup on seeds in winder at Palmer Park, Colorado Springs

Rock formation in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs

My Blog Format Update

I tried adding Google Search to my blog. You might have seen it sitting on the right in the last week. After trying it a few times, I decided to remove it. It seems Google searches only pages it has indexed to the master Google site. It doesn't do a full search within your site. So, it would not find the entry on fighting spyware for example.

I had asked Blogger support about the option of a master index. I asked for it so that people can at least find any interesting older entries. Also so people canfind an entry even if it falls off the bottom of the archive list.
Because you won't see a linked title on the 'last 10 entries' box if you have more than 10 entries for an archive. Also you may completely lose an entry if you have more entries in an archive persiod than can be displayed in the long list.

As I don't know when or if they will get to making a master index page, I've decided to make my own. I created a cygwin script mkblogix to create a master index file. I then upload it to my ISP server space. And I put a link to the master index on the right side where the search was. It requires the files downloaded by the getmyblog script I posted about the other day.

Clueless on 9/11

The following essay is my own opinion, and may ruffle a few feathers.

The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks has released some major details in the last few days. There is one thing that bothers me in what has been said the whole time:

We had no clue to this kind of attack.

I think there may have been a few clues. All we have to do is look to our strongest ally in the Middle East. Israel has been dealing with terrorists who are willing to kill themselves to violate society and kill civilians in non-military situations for a very long time.

And what has been the response to Israel, even today? Don’t take any active steps to fix the situation. Give in to the terrorists. Give them land. Give them their own country. Give them legitimate power.

So the terrorists have learned that terrorism is an acceptable means of political action.

It hurt me inside every time the world gives legitimacy to terrorists. Because this legitimacy encourages it.

Now terrorism is being felt more and more all over the world.

We had no clue to this kind of attack.

We had plenty of clues. But we had a different mind set, that made us blind to the clues. We were complacent. We thought that we were safe in our houses and jobs in America. We thought terrorism was confined to a corner of the world far away, where terrorists love to target a group of people the many people in the world love to unfairly hate.

We thought we should negotiate with terrorists. Terrorists would never want to kill themselves to kill a bunch of Americans. They just wanted to achieve a political goal, such as freeing a top-level militant. In the end maybe a few innocent people would die, but the Swat teams would always capture or kill the terrorists. We trusted that no one would want to kill us in our own land.

We had no clue to this kind of attack.

Was the only thing we learned from the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center is that we need more concrete in front of our buildings? We even faced terrorism from our own, in Oklahoma. Did we learn much then? We learned to be a little more paranoid. We were learning that terrorists were cowards – they always left the bomb to go off after they ran away to safety. But that was not what they were doing in Israel. But did we notice? We only encouraged it.

But on September 11th, our mindset changed. It now was similar to our ally, Israel. We learned the terrorists could no longer be trusted.

I am amazed and proud at how quickly our mindset changed. It changed in about an hour. It only took 3 planes for us to change our minds. On the fourth plane, our national mindset changed. Due to the plane trying to fly below the radar, cell phones on the 4th hijacked plane worked. The civilians on the plane learned the fate of the previous 3 planes: suicide bombs targeting large casualties and major emotional structures. The people on the 4th plane realized that these terrorists were not looking to negotiate. This was in spite of the lies the hijackers told the passengers. And in spite of the big lie that the American people had been living under for so long.

The people on the fourth plane came to a conclusion. Basically the same idea that was having trouble making it to the pilots of the fighters who could have shot down some of the hijacked planes. They realized that the plane could not stay in the hands of the terrorists, even if it meant everyone on the plane had to die. Because everyone on the plane was dead anyhow if the terrorists stayed in control. And if the terrorists stayed in control, many more people and emotional targets could be hit.

So, the people on the 4th plane struck back at the terrorists. Perhaps they were lucky, with one less person in the terrorist cell on their plane. But I think the resolve of the new mindset had taken over. They denied the terrorists a fourth target. They limited the 4th cell’s damage to just one plane. I salute the people on this fourth plane.

In is an interesting bit of irony that the least damaging attack on the September 11th terrorist attack was about the worst level of foreign terrorism that we had suffered until that day. The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center complex took less lives than the bomb that destroyed the Pan American plane over Lockerbie.

But now we knew that we couldn’t negotiate with terrorists on planes. If someone tried to take over a plane, we knew that we had to stop them at any cost. Because we knew our lives were already lost if we didn’t stop them. And the costs would likely be much higher if we didn’t stop them. We now live with the new mindset.

But do we have a full new mindset? We are definitely more paranoid about proven ways of terrorism. We now know that our own planes, filled with our own people, can be turned into flying bombs with just a few brainwashed terrorists. But have we thought about it enough?

We no longer were willing to simply wait for political negotiations and embargos to root out the leaders of terrorists. When the Afghanistan government refused to actively police their country, and turn over the leaders of the terrorists, we moved in with military force and removed the leaders and replaced the government. We refused to allow those who harbor terrorists to sit by and allow it to happen.

Yet Israel is told not to use military force to take care of terrorists. The political powers in the ‘occupied territories’ are not held accountable for rounding up and turning over terrorist leaders. The Israeli government is repeatedly told to negotiate with the existing leader. A leader who has direct connections to terrorist organizations.

Yet we continue the war into a new country: Iraq. Based on spotty assumptions and past histories. Don’t get me wrong; the Iraq government is a proven terrorist. They used illegal chemical weapons on their neighbors. They sent scud missiles into Israel, a non-combatant during the first gulf war. They attempted global eco-terrorism by blowing up oil wells and dumping crude oil into the gulf waters. They threatened to send chemical weapons on our troops and allies. They used oil-for-food money to buy weapons and build up leaders’ bank accounts.

It is interesting to note that the first gulf war likely would have been a nuclear conflict. Except for one thing: Israel had made a surgical bombing strike into Iraq to take out the nearly functional breeder reactor. At that time Israel was condemned dramatically for the strike. Yet because of it, we did not face nuclear bombs during the gulf wars. We have that many less rough nuclear weapons in the world. We should have thanked Israeli for helping make sure that Iraq did not have that method of mass destruction. Let me say it here: Thank You! I think we were wrong for condemning you.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think everything that Israel has done it right. I think it is a shame that they have grabbed land without any compensation. But those of us living in America, in places like Manhattan, Massachusetts, driving Appalachia in our Cherokee SUVs, should be careful of the stones we throw in our glass houses.

I also think it is a shame that Israel lets the world slant the news against them, and rarely speaking up. But maybe they speak up more than we hear. Most of the time, all I see on the news is spokespersons from the ‘occupied territories’ spouting obvious lies. I have to read between the lines in the newspaper to try to get an even feel for the story. I have to read to the end of the article to get some details on what the terrorists did wrong. How can you call hundreds of people throwing stones as a peaceful demonstration? There are things that Israel does wrong, but they are wronged 100 times over by the dirty politics.

But we tell Israel to be nice to the people who grow terrorists. And are growing them younger and younger. In fact, we send over money to help out people in the ‘occupied territories’. Yes, in some areas they live in very poor conditions. And their economy has been dramatically impacted by the fact that Israel doesn’t trust them to come to work in their areas. Would you trust them? So we give them money to improve their governments and living conditions.

So what kind of improvements does the money buy? They buy and smuggle weapons from neighboring countries. They take ambulances and convert them inside to transport weapons and fighters.

And these are they same people who reported to have cheered when the September 11th attacks occurred. There have been some questions as to how much celebrating really happened September 11th. A number seemed to show appropriate sorry afterwards for the cameras. But considering how they cheered when scud missiles fell in Israeli towns, I am inclined to believe that a large number celebrated our losses on 9/11. There were a number of widely believed reports in the Middle East that the September 11th attacks were a fabrication of the Jews. Some reports say the attacks didn’t really happen, but simulated like some say about the moon landings. Or that Jews arranged the attacks, and set it up to blame Islamic groups. One lie attempting to back this up is the false claim that no Jews were killed on 9/11.

The American government is pushing for a separate state for the Palestinians. It seems to me that Iraq owes us some war reparations. I think we should carve off a piece of Iraq and call it Palestine. Okay, even though it has some real value, I doubt that idea will go over well with most people.

But it seems there is a driving force for a Palestinian state in the lands in or adjoining Israel. So far, the leaders there have shown about the same responsibility as those who were previously in charge in Afghanistan. And the America government has publicly stated it will go after terrorism. It will root it out.

Perhaps the problem is that a major terrorist hot spot is within the subjugated people under our ally Israel. If America sent in troops now, we would be attacking Israel.

My question is this: when the Palestinian people get their own country, and they continue terrorism, does America plan to live up to is guarantee of going after terrorism? In other words, when the future country of Palestine continues to encourage terrorism, will the American military do an Afghanistan on them?

I think Israel should move as quickly on giving the Palestinians their own country. Because when there is terrorism from that country, Israel would have more right to expect action. When the leader of the new country fail to act correctly, Israel could expect military action to be a valid response, either from outside or on their own.

I think the limits should be pretty clear. In Afghanistan, American set the limits. If a large terrorist action is taken upon our people, the government harboring the leaders of the plan have one month to pursue and extradite the criminals, or risk full invasion and removal.

When there are terrorist attacks from the future country of Palestine, the leaders have one month to find and turn over the leaders, and to be proactive in discouraging any future terrorism. When they fail to do this, they can expect allied forces to use significant military power to remove the failed leaders and any areas related to terrorism. This area has proven again and again to contain Weapons of Mass Destruction.

We had no clue to this kind of attack.

I think we have some big clues. We need to take the magnifying glass of the media off of what Israel is doing wrong. There are more murders in New York City over drugs than there are casualties in the Middle East. We need to focus it on ourselves, for legitimizing terrorism. We need to focus it on the area of proven, continued terrorism. We need to send a strong, consistent signal that all terrorism is wrong.


Programming Langs History Chart

O'Reilly (technical book publisher) has come up with a giant wall chart of The History of Programming Languages. It has interesting arrows charting cross evolutions and merging of ideas, like those that lead to Java.

You can view a nice-size PDF version of the chart.

The site claims it documents over 2,500 languages. I wouldn't quite agree on the count. In some cases, the show multiple versions of a langauge as a different language. Is Cobol 85 really a different language than Cobol 74? It seems more like a major revision, but I would not call it a whole new language. And I certainly wouldn't call python 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 as four different languages.
On the chart it looks like there are a 3 or 4 dozen main lines, with multiple versions and evolutions occuring. Such as CPL to BCPL to B to C, and then a few different standards versions of C.

Pictures: More Garden of the Gods

Some more pictures I took when hiking at the Garden of the Gods - on New Years Day this year [2004].
Click on pictures to see larger 1024 images

Rock at N Parking Lot

  Rock Wedge               Moon Over Rocks

Rock V                                     Climbers

Downtown COS                             Rock & Sky    

I found that with the Hello software, you can only post one picture at a time to a blog. Sometimes I like to have more, as you can well see from this and many of my other entries. And you can only upload when you are posting to a blog. So to get the pictures uploaded for the Liberty Bell 7 entry, I wound up making 9 entries. Then I captured the URLs of the pictures and create a 10th entry with all the pictures. Then I deleted the entries with just the pictures. This was a frustraiting way to do it. And I worried about confusing people who might be reading my blog during these posts.

To solve this, I created another blog Keith's Pictures. This one will have one entry per picture. Then I can glom them together to make a single entry on this blog. A bit kludgy, but it works. And if anyone just cares about seeing my pictures, they can always just look at my picture blog. But I'll just consider it a dumping ground.


Blog Backup & Wget

I posted a question to blogger support about a week ago about backing up my blog. I had realized that I had all this work out there, but I was completely relying on their servers to keep my work safe. I also had no easy way to move the data over to my own FTP server if I ever wanted.

This was a few days before weblogs.com abruptly closed.

Blogger posted a solution on their help site under advanced topics. Their solution was to make some complicated manual configuration change to put all your blog entries on one page, then save it. I was not in a rush to do this. I was tempted to just go out and browse each entry and save it.
I had also set the option to have blogger email me each post, and I set up a filter for the emails. But there is a problem with this solution: you only get the initial entry, you don't get any updates if you edit an entry.

Then I suddenly realized that I might be able to use wget to backup my blog. Wget is a line command utility that can be used to fetch a web page.
It turned out to be even easier than I expected! All I had to do was add the '-r' recurse line command switch to the program, and it traced through all my entries and saved them to relative files on my hard drive. I was really impressed by all the great options in wget.

But I decided I wanted more. I wanted to backup my image files too (posted on my ISP web server and Hello's photos1.blogger.com server). So I wrote a shell script to extract all the image files, and put them in a list file to use with wget.
Then I updated the script to do my site wget first. And I set both wget commands to only do newer files. I run it on my windows machine under cygwin. I would imagine it would run fine under linux or other UN*X platforms.
I am sharing my script under a GNU-like open source: getmyblog.

For those running windows without cygwin, I found that there is a windows port of wget (and a bunch of other un*x utilities) at unxutils.sourceforge.net. I have tested the wget.exe program, it it works great for vanilla windows backup of a blog site, for just the html files.

On an interesting note, I had been playing with wget a few days before as a way to post xml-rpc to blogger's API (which is in deprecation - the old API will be going away). It worked very well for a simple command, but I did not test creating an entry with it. I imagine it would not be hard to make a script to upload files backed up for a blog via wget going to the xml-rpc.

Picture: Seagull on the beach

Florida, Fort Myers Beach: Seagull on seaweed; 2003-12-20
(select for full image)

I took this picture while I was visiting my Dad and Step-mom last December.


Liberty Bell 7 Exhibit

A while back, at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, they had the Liberty Bell 7 Exhibit. This was the second US Manned spacecraft. During recovery, it filled with water, and they had to let it go. It sank to the bottom of the ocean for a long time. A few years ago they found it, and recovered it. It has been a traveling exhibiting at museums. Here are my shots at the exhibit.

Fighting Robots on my Firewall

Just this past weekend, my son got me back into the game we call Fighting Robots. Others know it as Total Annihilation or just TA for short.

This game is still fantastic. At first we installed the basic disk, and had to play each other. My son was not happy when I beat him. But eventually he understood. Then after we loaded the other disks, and the patch, we were able to play against computer opponents. That was a lot more fun.

Today, I was checking out my laptop. I was looking at the services. I turned on the telnet server. But I couldn't connect. Which is the correct action, as I have the firewall software turned on in XP for ethernet. So I went to allow telnet connections inbound on my compter on the firewall settings. But I noticed something odd: a service called dplaysvr at the top of the list, allowed in. What was this? Where did it come from?
My first few searches on the internet gave me some worry - some virus programs will install under the name dplaysvr.exe. But then I found some other pages talking about gaming. And I suddenly realized that it could be related to TA!
Some more searching found that it is related to DirectPlay7, which is part of DirectX. I find it very interesting that TA, which was written way before XP, was able to self-install the play service on my firewall. I can only assume that it is really because of DirectX9 being smart enough to know it needs to open the port on the XP firewall to allow TA - or any other DirectPlay game to have access.

The setting in the firewall shows:
[x] dplaysvr ( 47624 UDP
which matches the settings documented by microsoft in 240429 - DirectX: Ports Required to Play on a Network

Picture: Pikes Peak Sunrise

Another view of Pikes Peak Posted by Hello

This is my first post using the Google/Blogger recomended tool: Hello. It is a system tray tool that lets you post pictures and web entries to your blogger/blogspot site. It posts the pictures on the blogger server photos1.blogger.com.

Hello acts as a server on you system, so that your web browser can talk to it via port 3522.


Site Meter Added

I have added a (free) page counter from sitemeter.com.

It also tracks some statistics. It had a web page for automatically installing into blogger/blogspot sites!

I hope to see it go up with all my visitors!

Pictures: Pumpkin Patch, Self Portrait

Last October we went with the online school group to a Corn Maze and pumpkin patch.

Crossing a bridge in the corn maze.

View across watermelon patch, to pumpkin patch.

Self portrait. Standing on the kid's climbing structure, my reflection in the dining room window.