Friday, February 12, 2010

For all you motorcycle riders out there

Twelve Important Things My Motorcycle Has Taught Me
  1. The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rear view mirror.
  2. Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul.
  3. I'd rather be riding my motorcycle and thinking about God, than sitting in church thinking about my bike.
  4. Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 75 mph.
  5. Midnight bugs taste just as bad as noon time bugs.
  6. Sometimes it takes a whole tank full of gas before you can think straight.
  7. A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.
  8. Young riders pick a destination and go; old riders pick a direction and go.
  9. When you're riding lead, don't spit.
  10. Catching a yellow jacket in your shirt at 75 mph can double your vocabulary. Catching a yellow jacket in your helmet will triple that special vocabulary.
  11. If you can't get it going with bungee cords and duct tape, it's serious.
  12. Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
  13. (Bonus) I've never seen a motorcycle parked in front of a psychiatrist's office.

Here are a few more:

  • Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.
  • Always back your bike into the curb and sit where you can see it.
  • Ride to work. Work to ride.
  • Two-lane blacktop isn't a highway - it's an attitude.
  • When you look down the road, it seems to never end; sadly we all come to realize that it does.
  • Winter is nature's way of telling you to test the electrics.
  • Keep your bike in good repair. Motorcycle boots are not all that comfortable for walking.
  • People are like motorcycles; each is customized a bit differently.
  • Sometimes, the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes.
  • Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
  • You can forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's all the buzz about?

So when I log into GMail today, I see information about a new feature called Buzz.

I'll be honest and state up front I haven't done anything with it yet; all I've done is look at it briefly.  It purports to automatically tie in to any other Google Apps (Picasa, etc.) that you are using.

In short, it looks like this is supposed to be Google's Facebook/Myspace killer.

Not sure if I really need another social application in my life right now, so I probably won't use it much.

This is an odd-ball story if I've ever heard one

From MSNBC's Out of Bounds:
During the fight, Le, 27, was caught in a headlock by Pham and figured the only way to get his attacker to break the hold was to grab his testicles. Really hard.
 I'm cringing just thinking about what happened in that fight.

I think this is proof-positive that there is such a thing as ESP, because every guy I know that's read this story has crouched over in that distinctive protective position that guys know so well.


And how do you explain this to your wife?  "Hey honey, good news!!!  I got that vasectomy we were talking about.  Bad news is I also got arrested, but hey, look on the bright side!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

John Murtha has passed away

From the WaPo:
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), 77, a Vietnam veteran who staunchly supported military spending and became a master of pork-barrel politics, died today at Virginia Hospital Center following gallbladder surgery last month. 

Also, his opponent Bill Russell has released the following statement:
On behalf of Kasia and our entire family, I want to express our deepest sympathy on the passing of Congressman John Murtha. Today’s news will be met with profound sadness by the hundreds of thousands of constituents he served in Johnstown and throughout the 12th Congressional District.

To Joyce, their children and grandchildren, we extend our heartfelt respect as you honor Mr. Murtha’s memory and reflect on his legacy in the upcoming days and months.

Bill Russell
Lt. Colonel USAR (ret)

For me, there is only one answer.

Is Scouting still relevant?


In mesoplagic, sushi eats you!!!

The Beeb reports:
Oarfish (Regalecus glesne) are one of the world's longest fish reaching 17m.

Their strange appearance may have provided the basis for the sea serpent myths told by early ocean travellers.

Not only are they elongated, they also have a prominent dorsal fin which gives it an unusual "serpent" appearance.
This one was estimated between 5m and 10m in length.  I find it interesting that they apparently swim backwards, in a vertical orientation.  So, really, they swim down, tail first.

Very cool stuff.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Programmers with a sense of humor

While fighting a Production Down issue today, we had to stop several application instances that were locked up and not processing correctly.

As the applications shut down, it apparently triggered an error routine, and displayed an error message in an internal subroutine of the application.  No big deal, this happens all the time.

What tickled my funny bone was the name of the method that generated the error:


And, yes, its connection was hosed, because the one of the problems was it had lost connection to the database.

I laughed out loud, literally, and almost bathed my monitor in the finest of office java.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Toyota, now GM?

About 900,000 Chevy Cobalts in probe
Some 905,000 Chevrolet Cobalts built between 2005 and 2009 are the subject of a preliminary evaluation by federal officials because of complaints that drivers may lose control of the electronic power steering system.
I don't know which is worse, losing control of the throttle or losing control of the steering system.

I think I'd rather lose control of the throttle.  I can always kill the engine and use the residual hydraulic pressure to stop the vehicle.

Pray for Rep. John Murtha

Rep. John Murtha is in intensive care after surgery
"Congressman Murtha underwent a scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder last week," his spokesman, Matthew Mazonkey, said in an e-mail. "Complications did arise from the surgery, and he is currently at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington."

I may not agree with his politics, and I might wish that he were no longer serving in the House, but I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

Oh my. I really don't know what to say

Ham-tastic overindulgence

A modern day Mary Celeste?

El Reg has an interesting story today.
Those splendid brainboxes at DARPA - the Pentagon's in-house bazaar of the bizarre - have outdone themselves this time. They now plan an entirely uncrewed, automated ghost frigate able to cruise the oceans of the world for months or years on end without human input.

The new project is called Anti-submarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), and is intended to produce "an X-ship founded on the assumption that no person steps aboard at any point in its operating cycle". The uncrewed frigate would have enough range and endurance for "global, months long deployments with no underway human maintenance", being able to cross oceans largely without any human input - communications back to base would be "intermittent", according to DARPA.
ASW  operations are always dicey.  There can be collisions, there can be escalations, and even if everything goes "normally", there's always the extra tension and stress involved with keeping tabs on a sub-surface foe.

I think this is a pretty significant step forward, if DARPA get it's it working.  I can't imagine they would arm the vessel, unless those weapons systems were under positive human control at all times.  But for tracking and reporting?  Why not?

Oh, and as the article concludes:
Meanwhile, it seems to us that there's only one possible name for the first ghostly, crewless X-ship of the class.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Change I can believe in

Well, well, well.

A workplace policy change that I can fully support.  It seems one of the frequent complaints has been that there are just too many meetings going on, and it makes it hard to get work done.  Sort of reminds me of the old "We'll hold daily status meetings until we're back on schedule" type of attitude.

So, the Big Boss mentioned that other companies have successfully implemented "no meetings" days.  On these days, guess what?  No meetings are held!!!  Novel concept, that, I know.

Anyway, as a trial run, a new policy has been implemented regarding meetings.  Effective immediately, Friday after 1:00 PM is now a "no meeting" time, at least within our department.  If this is successful, it will be expanded to a full day black-out of meetings on Fridays.

This is change I can believe in.

I just wish they'd expand it to "after 4:00 PM" every day.  Nothing worse than a meeting at the end of the day as you're trying to clear your desk.

Yet Another Reason Bacon is of the Gods

From Reuters:
"I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry.
I guess that's one way to give a lift to the pork industry ;)

The Tea Party Candidate in Kentucky?

Sarah Palin endorses Rand Paul
"National political icon and conservative leader Sarah Palin has endorsed Dr. Rand Paul in his bid for United States Senate from Kentucky. The Paul campaign has received a generous donation from Governor Palin’s PAC.

Sarah Palin has clearly seen that Rand Paul supports smaller, constitutional government and is taking the fight to the career politicians and will shake up the tax and spend crowd in Washington D.C."
Having just moved to the Commonwealth,  I'm not yet up to speed on the various political players, and who's running for what in the mid-terms.  I'm familiar with Rand Paul's father, Ron Paul, from my time in Texas.  If the son is a chip off the old block, I imagine he will be fairly tolerable as a Senator.

Granted, this is the PR announcement from his campaign, and further research is obviously required.  That being said, I do like most of what I've seen poking around his campaign site.

When Technology and Music Unite

Robot Band Backs Pat Metheny on Orchestrion Tour

"Dozens of robotic band members will join jazz guitarist Pat Metheny on his next international tour. It’s the same backup band that accompanied him on his latest album, Orchestrion, producing sounds both familiar and alien."
The leading image is rather quite astonishing.  This is not just the same as pre-recording tracks and playing them back on electronic player pianos, or using mix-down tricks and fancy video editing.  While he's played all the tracks himself, they music is mechanically recreated during the performance.

“It’s not samples, it’s not looping — it’s something else. This is me playing with dozens of me in real time, and that’s a new thing,” Metheny told during an interview in the large rehearsal space his robots require, a desanctified church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn."
Here's a video of the band in action.

Quotes of the Day

I've seen a number of these before, but some were new to me.  For your enjoyment:

  • "Except For Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, WAR has Never Solved Anything."
  • "Stop Global Whining"
  • "When In Doubt, Empty The Magazine"
  • "The Marine Corps - When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Destroyed Overnight"
  • "Death Smiles At Everyone - Marines Smile Back"
  • "Marine Sniper - You can run, but you'll just die tired!"
  • "What Do I Feel When I Kill A Terrorist? A Little Recoil"
  • "Marines - Providing Enemies of America an Opportunity To Die For their Country Since 1775"
  • "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It"
  • "Happiness Is A Belt-Fed Weapon"
  • "Artillery Brings Dignity to What Would Otherwise Be Just A Vulgar Brawl"
  • "One Shot, Twelve Kills - U.S. Naval Gun Fire Support"
  • "My Kid Fought In Iraq So Your Kid Can Party In College"
  • "Machine Gunners - Accuracy By Volume"
  • "A Dead Enemy Is A Peaceful Enemy - Blessed Be The Peacemakers"
  • "If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher. If You Can Read It In English, Thank A Veteran"
  • "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The Marines don't have that problem." ...Ronald Reagan