Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And the endian on the left is now endian on the right

I am not-not-not going to get all vi vs emacs [1] here. 

Opinions were solicited, recommendations provided, choices made.   Like the good marine employee I am, I will ask questions, provide my opinion, [2] until the order is given and then it's 'Aye-aye Sir' about-face and carry out the plan of the day.

Good bye Solaris, hello Linux.  Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss. [3]
But great furry cats, Linux is such  ... such ... well it's not Solaris that's for sure.

But it's okay.

The only thing certain is change and useless whining.

[1] Because, duh, the clear winner is emacs.
[2] Code for 'be a pain in the ass'.
[3] We won't get fooled again .. YEEEAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Gawd damn The Who rocked, didn't they?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

War, Devastation, and Whimsy

At the end of 1940, the Wehrmacht started to install guns at Pas-de-Calais.  Mission: blow up ships in the English Channel.  And as much of England as they could reach.  These batteries were named

Friedrich August
Grosser Kurfürst
Prinz Heinrich

Monarchs and Nazis. Genuine bad-ass strike-terror-in-the-heart-of-our-enemy names.

The British had a gun named 'Pooh'.  Later they added 'Clem' and 'Jane'.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Battle of Athens

1946.  Athens, Tennessee.  Surrounded by a paid company of thugs in the jail, Paul Cantrell, Pat Mansfield were counting ballots, stealing another election.  Business as usual.  Outside was Bill White with the militia ...

“Would you damn bastards bring those damn ballot boxes out here or we are going to set siege against the jail and blow it down!” Moments later the night exploded in automatic weapons fire punctuated by shotgun blasts.

When it was over, Cantrell and Mansfield had fled, the militia kept order for a few days.  The state came down, an honest ballot count happened, the reform candidates assumed office.  Time passed.

There are no signs or monuments to commemorate the event; people have forgotten or do not wish to remember. But the graying manager of a local store, a friendly sort and so gentle with his grandchildren, squeezed off round after round at the  jail that night. And the driver snoozing behind the wheel of his cab,  not really caring whether he catches a fare or not, helped wrap and toss the deadly bundles of dynamite that sailed through the night air. You can bet they remember.

And so should we.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Joe Biden is stoopid not so much

The 'Joe Biden is dumb as a box of hammers' meme is funny, but if you think he is actually that dumb you have another think coming.

He did get a BA, got a law degree, was alert enough to avoid the draft (five deferments), has been a US Senator since 1972.  He's not walked into the side of a bus, has never shown up dripping wet with a dodgy story and a dead girl in a submerged car.

I'm not arguing he's got a big ol' brain on board, but what he has done argues that at the very least, under that  goofball persona, is a guy with a certain low cunning.

I sure wouldn't turn my back on him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned

This morning I had a functional development host for $application.

Then a trap door opened, I was dropped into a Twilight Zone of kernel panics, broken dreams, shattered servers.

How was your day?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Amateur Hour Or Why 'Scream and Leap' is a bad idea

So this guy, Floyd Lee Corkins II, [1] ambles up to his ideological enemies, starts hollering, pulls a gun, wings a security guard.  Who promptly disarms his dumb ass.

... the suspect said, "Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for."

Amateur.  Kids, if you're going to take a scary evil gun and slay people, observe the proper form: get foamy and ideological after the slaying. 

Carrying on before the festivities betrays a lack of seriousness.

Bonus: this happened in D.C. which has more cops running around than you could shake a stick at.  Super strict gun control laws.  Floyd [2], he just walked right through them laws like they was printed on paper.

[1] Middle name of 'Lee'.  Now there is a warning sign if ever was one.  Quite and unassuming, too.  Another spot to cover on mass-murder buzz-word bingo.

[2] Snicker.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend at the Lunar Dells

Weekend at The Dells with family.

Love the water parks.  I like people in the abstract.  In great bunches ... ew.  Try real hard not to think about what is _in_ the water on the floor of the restroom and changing rooms.  With thousands of monkeys trooping in and out it gets kind of gross in there.

Moms - stop yelling 'Don't run, you'll fall!' You really take a few hits in the ol' credibility department.  If your spawn really thought they could fall they would not run.  Try this: 'Don't run'.   You are a parent - you don't need to justify yourself.

Since we live up north a lot of these water parks are inside.  People from here take this for granted.  Entering, I'm always taken aback for a minute, think about a John Varley Disney.

See, Varley is an SF writer, wrote a series of shorts and novels that take place in ... never mind.  Upshot is that, in the future, people in the moon have carved caves, hundreds of kilometers in diameters, kilometers high, painted the ceiling blue, stocked them with flora and fauna.  One refers to this kind of cave as a 'Disney'.[1]

So I stand there, take it in, think about how keen it would be to splash around in a wave pool in lunar gravity.

Hope they find a way to keep the restrooms clean.

[1] There is no problem with lawyers for Disney showing up and suing these folk into oblivion.  Long before these stories are set aliens showed up and eradicated humanity on earth to save the whales.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A rose by any other name is the title of a post

Instead of Industrial Giants, Brooklyn Has Niche Factories

Rather, this building, at 1205 Manhattan Avenue, has been sliced and
diced into several dozen small factories, each with a niche clientele.

No it gosh-darn has not been, Mr. Joseph Berger of the New York Times. There is not one single factory in that article.

But that's okay.  He is just a reporter.  Can't be expected to understand the meaning of words.  Heck, he got impressed by a band saw and a guy with a welding rig and thought 'factory'.

Like if he met a guy with a few potted tomato plant on his balcony in Williamsburg.  That's farming, man.  He's ready to go plow a field.  Write with authority on grain farming in the Dakotas.

Manufacturing is making lots of stuff, in a repeatable process.  Computers. Cars.  Tractors, routers, hammers.  It is a really complicated process, getting the gozintas to assemble just right to make the gozouttas.  It is surprisingly hard to do well.

Everything you see on the shelves at Wal-Mart is produced by an organization that has figured out how to be the best in their niche. 

If they didn't figure it out, they're out of business. [1]

Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, said Brooklyn “is going back to the future.”

“What is emerging is the artisanal approach rather than the mass
production for millions of items of something,” he said.

What you got there in Brooklyn, with the band saw and the drill press and guys that make one-off photography models is craft.  You're employing craftsmen to make really cool stuff, one at a time.

Nothing wrong with it. It's rewarding as hell, I'm sure, financially and personally.

But you don't make crafts in a factory, and it is not manufacturing.

Names matter.

[1] I could be crabby from gettin up before the rooster to fix a problem
that was costing my company a few thousand dollars per minute in
downtime.  Then again just after the rooster crowed to fix another problem.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Carl Sagan’s message to future explorers of Mars

Carl Sagan’s message to future explorers of Mars.

Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century, particularly with respect to Mars. The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists to find out more about Mars, which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science; and that sequence has played major role in our present ability to get to Mars. It certainly was an important factor in the life of Robert Goddard, the American rocketry pioneer who, I think more than anyone else, paved the way for our actual ability to go to Mars. And it certainly played a role in my scientific development.

I don’t know why you’re on Mars. Maybe you’re there because we’ve recognized we have to carefully move small asteroids around to avert the possibility of one impacting the Earth with catastrophic consequences, and, while we’re up in near-Earth space, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to Mars. Or, maybe we’re on Mars because we recognize that if there are human communities on many worlds, the chances of us being rendered extinct by some catastrophe on one world is much less. Or maybe we’re on Mars because of the magnificent science that can be done there - the gates of the wonder world are opening in our time. Maybe we’re on Mars because we have to be, because there’s a deep nomadic impulse built into us by the evolutionary process, we come after all, from hunter gatherers, and for 99.9% of our tenure on Earth we’ve been wanderers. And, the next place to wander to, is Mars. But whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

R.I.P. Eric Hammar

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) paid tribute to Staff Sgt. Carl E. Hammar during an Active Duty Funeral in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., July 30, 2012. Staff Sgt. Hammar died
July 14, 2012 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.