Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The local hawk

I've been noticing a hawk or falcon operating from around campus for several weeks now. Last week, Number One Son noticed the hawk resting on one of the antenna atop the Patterson Office Tower.

I was walking into work, and I noticed him flying around one tree. It seems that he is in fact a she, and she has two chicks in a nest near the Main Building.

I'm still working on pictures. Give me a bit of time. :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why C isn't anything special

Slashdot had an article commenting about the Top 10 Dead (or Dying) Computer skills article in Computerworld. It's little surprise that no one is paying for Cobol skills. People have had 7 years to get rid of Cobol and their mainframes, and those who aren't are planning to train in-house anyway.

I am just surprised that people are surprised that no one is paying a premium for C skills. My first CS class was a FORTRAN and C class (programming for Engineers), and my first "real" CS class was Pascal. After the first classes, we didn't use anything but C or C++ for any serious projects. It wasn't until I started to leave that Java was even introduced.

Programming C is like a carpender hammering nails: some things should just come standard. No programmer in 2007 should NOT know C.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thanks for your prayers -- and a call for donations.

A few days in prayer have helped a lot. Milady is feeling better now, and the neighborhood seems to be more under control. Now, I just have to convince the family that riding to Mississippi in a passenger van for a junior high mission trip is just as good as riding in a tour bus. NOT! ;)

Our church still has to raise $800 (out of $1000) to fund our gas bill, or the kids will have to pay for the gas themselves (they're already paying $250 each for food and lodging). The Church is accepting Shell gas cards or cash to pay for the gift cards. If you'd like to donate, let me know by Email, and I'll let you know how you can donate on-line so that the money goes straight to the Church and to the Gas fund.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Please pray for us

It's been a rough couple of days at the Packrat household. Please pray for us, especially Milady, as we work through a couple of decisions.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Overheard at the Shriner's Circus Last Night

"Noble Lumpkin, this is the Illustrious Potentate". No, wait, that was another event. ;)

My brother-in-law is a Shriner, and he buys us tickets to the Shriners Circus every year. This year, we packed ourselves and the next door neighbors, and went to see the show.

About halfway through, one of the clowns came by, selling "Clown of the Year" pins as a fundraiser for the local Shriner's Hospital. I would have bought one myself, but I was down to 2 dollars from all of the Cokes, Nachos, and cotton candy I bought for myself the kids. While he's turned to me, Little Miss sneaks up on his other side.

Clown: "Would you like to buy a Clown of the Year pin? It's only 4 dollars."

Me: "No thank you"

*clown turns, face to face with Little Miss*

Little Miss: "I'd like 4 dollars."

Clown: *dramatic pause* She doesn't miss much, does she?

It took me 5 minutes to quit laughing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I had a really good post yesterday, but it's gone now

And there's nothing anyone can say to prove me wrong... :)

Give me a while, and I'll have something good up.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I watched the Republican debates last night

Really, Milady watched the debates and I sat with her. Ron Paul has my support, not that it'll do him a lot of good. Mr. Huckabee surprised me with being such a state's rights guy, so I guess he would do.

Otherwise, I stand by my earlier ideas that it's just way too early for me to care.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Dreaming of trains

My great-uncle called me Saturday. Appearantly, he had just read the article about Peak Oil off of the Internet. As I've mentioned sometimes before on this blog, my whole family has a strong pessimistic streak running through their psyche. I have to fight it some myself.

The last couple of nights have had some rough sleep. Tuesday, I remember waking up around 1AM and going to the computer, and very little else. The rest of the night, I dreamed of trainyards.

I've found myself growing more optimistic in general as I've gotten older. I've seen the predictions of the false End Times prophets ("this means we have to be in the last couple of years, because X is about to happen") fail to pan out. I lived through the end of Cold War and the Clinton Administration. God willing, I'll even survive GWB.

As I've told Number 1 Son, Iran isn't going to nuke Israel. The Bible says it won't happen. We aren't going to starve in the cold when oil runs out, because God said not to worry about food and water, that He would provide everything we need. And if He doesn't protect us from something, we still win by losing.

I'm not afraid of what comes up, even if what is coming up is bad. "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come!" And then He is coming.

Give this man a Nobel Prize for Economics

Not really, but kcbrown on Slashdot wrote a comment, "Expand or Die?" that summarizes my own thoughts on expansion at all costs:

It used to be that you could keep a company going simply by consistenly producing good products for a good price and a reasonable profit. As long as the products and the price both remained good, people would buy the products and the profits would keep coming in. Obviously the products would have to be refined over time as the needs of the customer base changed, but this fundamental approach is sound.

Back before the world reinvented fiat paper money, companies didn't go up a lot. Unless you could help start a new company that would make a new market (like AT&T or IBM), you got money when that company made a good dividend and gave it back to you, the stockholder.

The concept that HP, the company that made good computers and excellent printers is better off than HP, the maker of junk computers and worse inkjets, is rediculous.

There is nothing wrong with Good Enough.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Are you still able to cry?

I've heard the Blue Man Group's Exhibit 13 several times while listening to my CD The Complex. However, I just found the link to the video. Sometime life and The Enemy conspire to make one's heart hard, but occasionally things peak back in.

Can you still cry over it? Should you?