April 1

MS Pays through the Nose for fnPad Technology

Usually unreliable sources disclosed today that the Redmond, Washington giant, in a move to “nip in the bud” any useful software that it hasn’t itself rammed down the throats of its hapless users, has bought the rights to the underlying technology used in fnPad. A spokesperson for the company said that the key technology, something called a parse tree interpreter, will be patented and buried before anyone has a chance to make use of it. “We feel that this sort of simple-minded software design deserves no place in today’s gargantuan resource hogs,” said Nils Knode. The terms of the deal are not known, but W. H. Dolben, the developer, when asked if he wasn’t sorry to see his project get swallowed up by the whale of oblivion, stated via email from his Hinckley, sailing in the Virgin Islands, “I don’t care about making useful products. Look at the places I’ve worked in the past seven years. I’ve always been in it for the money. Now I have no idea how I’ll be able to spend it all.”

posted @ 01:12 PM EST

April 2

Thinking About Outsourcing

Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen have a draft of their thoughts on outsourcing.

posted @ 11:14 PM EST

April 3

fnPad Now Has Graphing

fnPad clip The latest version (0.20) of fnPad, a text editor based programmable calculator, has graphing. This is a major milestone, making the little Java application much more interesting.

A clip with graphs of four functions is shown here. Some explanation of the usage is now included on the fnPad page. The absence of decorations on the axes will be corrected before long.

posted @ 08:19 PM EST

April 5

Using Quadratic Formula in fnPad

There’s an extended example of using the quadratic formula in fnPad, demonstrating some of the features and techniques beyond simpler examples.

Also, the latest version (0.21) of the text editor based programmable calculator is now available, and includes a couple of minor fixes.

posted @ 02:52 PM EDT

April 7

Version 0.22 of fnPad: Auto-Ranging and Labeled Grid

The latest version (0.22) of fnPad, the text editor based, graphing, programmable calculator, is now available and includes a few improvements; notably, auto-ranging of the y-axis and a labeled grid on the graph.

posted @ 04:46 PM EDT

April 9

Version 0.24 of fnPad: Better Selection of Format

The latest version (0.24) of fnPad, the text editor based, graphing, programmable calculator, is now available and includes a refined format selection for floating point results, the restoration of tan(), and a few under-the-hood parameters.

posted @ 08:45 PM EDT

April 13

Echoes of Palestine in Falluja

Does anyone believe that the way things have been going for years and years between Palestinians and Israelis will bring peace and stability for these people? Obvious to everyone, it doesn’t matter which came first, the chicken or the egg, at this point violence by either side increases the resolve of the other, which responds with more violence. The score can never be evened. Now in Iraq, “rebels” attack U.S. soldiers, contractors, and reporters, bringing retaliation by the U.S. Army, which claims that it is eliminating the culprits, but in reality is doing nothing more than increasing the number of rebels, who want to avenge the deaths of family members and friends. This is not another Vietnam, but another Palestine.

The difference from Palestine is that Iraq is not home soil for U.S. citizens, so they are not compelled to go on making their lives there; this being the parallel to Vietnam. Apparently, Bush will pull out of Iraq in an effort to save his re-election. If that is what happens, it is doubtful that he will be able to claim “peace with honor,” since it is likely that a civil war will rage on in Iraq until some power becomes dominant enough to restore order. In any case, there will be many Iraqis primed to exact revenge, swelling the ranks of terrorist organizations targeting the U.S.

posted @ 01:14 PM EDT

April 16

PhpGedView 3.0 Released

My Dolben family site will be upgraded to version 3.0 of PhpGedView, the online genealogy viewer. I especially like the new home page feature.

posted @ 11:45 AM EDT

April 22

Why Go to Georgia When There's a Local Road Race?

I had been thinking of traveling south to catch a glimpse of Lance climbing to the mountain top finish on Brasstown Bald Mountain in Saturday’s stage of the Tour of Georgia, but sanity (thy name is “wife”) prevailed (this time). So, I’ll be around for the Eastern Collegiate Conference Championships including the road race on Saturday, which has its own mountain top finish, though the road up Parker Mountain from the east (which I rode over in my “hilly” training ride Tuesday), at around an 8% average grade for the last mile, is by no means hors de categorie.

By the way, for you nostalgia buffs, this is the Parker Mountain of the Minuteman Council Boy Scout camp (still there), where some friends (Rob, Bruce, Ron, et al.) and I spent some summer weeks in our youth. I especially remember aching shoulders from practicing the “J-stroke” and “bow sweep” while shivering, thigh deep in the water as part of the training for a canoeing merit badge. Then there were the council bonfires, sparks flying up into the dark sky, joining the stars, while old ghost stories and skits entertained the boys gathered on the slope, close enough to feel the fire’s heat and the sting of smoke in their eyes when a stray zephyr played its traditional prank.

posted @ 01:12 PM EDT

Le Maillon Pêche

Monsieur Armstrong incroyable won both of today’s stages, a sprint finish [!!] and a 30 km time trial, in the Tour of Georgia putting him in the peachy jersey.

posted @ 11:34 PM EDT

April 25

The Cay

Not one to be left out when the whole town is reading The Cay by Theodore Taylor, I took my turn yesterday morning. This old story of survival sparkles like the ripples on the Caribbean itself, the sun glinting off the waves, while under the surface of the clear blue water the colorful coral reefs are populated with a great variety of “feesh,” some small and pretty, others dark and dangerous.

posted @ 12:08 PM EDT

Strafford Road Race

This shot of the head of the pack on the third lap in the men’s “A” Strafford road race yesterday - the first stage of the Eastern Collegiate Conference Championships - is near the crest of Caverly Hill about halfway around the course loop.

posted @ 12:56 PM EDT

April 30

First 100k

I rode my first 100k of the season today, exactly one month earlier than last year’s first, in weather good enough for June; 80° F. away from the coast and upper 60s right along the beach, with gentle breezes and low humidity. Lovely!

posted @ 10:54 PM EDT