Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
The garage construction is now done. I did all the shelves at the back as per my original design (basically :) I also added some ski storage on the side...
Funny story, so typical house studs are 16" or 18" apart (can't recall off hand, and I am too lazy to run and measure.) So I cut these two 2x4's to make my ski rack, (I did measure a set of studs at the time to confirm that they were standard width) and I pre-nailed them so I just had to walk up to the garage and drive the nails the rest of the way and it would be done easy as pie. Well as it turns out, garage studs (or at least my garage studs) are a full 2 inches further apart then standard, who knew. Clearly, measure first, and measure the correct dimension is the lesson here :)
Second story of note, is that cutting melamine is awful! I may or may not have fried my circular saw in the process (confirmation pending.) I certainly didn't cut it very straight either. I even bought a special blade for the job. Oh well I'm sure (gulp) that it is under warranty, I will verify its status later tonight.
That's basically all I have to say about the shelves. They look great, and most importantly function great :)
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A Thai zoo is developing a 'Panda Porn' video to show to its pandas that have thus far been unable to successfully mate. Without Panda Porn, it is feared that the pandas will never learn the proper mating techniques, leading to the demise of the species. A hilarious but legitimate article.
I have been using this little piece of useless knowledge to entertain and amuse for a while, but everyone is skeptical. At least here is some proof, at least as long as CNN maintains the archive.
read more | digg story
17-year-old Michael Coviello believes that his school districtâ??s dress code that bans shorts but allows skirts is discriminatory.
This reminds me of high school when the head of the Drama department was trying to convince the boys in the drama club to put on a certain play. As I recall the script was about some future time when gender/fashion stereotypes had reversed, and it was women who wore pants and men dresses, the protagonist of the story went against society and wore pants! The play was written in an era where the message was less ambiguous, but the boys rejected the recommendation, not out of being misogynistic, but out of adolescent embarrassment.
read more | digg story
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Warning!!!!! Do not read if you don't want to know my opinion on the election.
That is my comment on the election. I can't say things turned out the way I would have liked, but I also can't say that they necessarily turned out poorly. Sure I would have like a different representative for my riding, that isn't to say I am disappointed with my representative being conservative (well okay I am, but that isn't the whole story) I am disappointed in the caliber of conservative I got.
The rhetoric at the news desks all night was "Canada has chosen change" and I think that is a fairly large over statement of what has happened. Canada has picked a minority government, Canada has picked a centrist party to lead by a narrow margin, and Canada has picked a centrist party as the official opposition. Checking the old 2004 election score sheet I'd say Canada has picked the same Government they just had, only the two centrist parties have swapped sides, and there is going to be a special edition of Debbie Travis's Trading Spaces with Stephen and Paul.
Regardless of how you view the outcome, what should you as a Canadian proud of?
Well for starters there is more national unity then ever before as the Bloc Quebecois lost seats, and overall votes in Quebec. Also you empowered the true third party in our democratic system with more votes and seats; giving a truly impressive leader a chance to make a difference in the house. You voted for what you believe in and not out of fear; that is important, because it means next time that all parties, not just two will run issue based campaigns, not slander ones.
In scanning through The Toronto Star's 'voices' column this morning, I am revolted by a number of Canadian's. I will anonymously quote them here, but you can go look them up if you like on the Star's page.
I now can fully empathize with Americans who did not vote for Bush. I am truly mortified that Stephen Harper will be our prime minister.
I will start with defending Harper, since I didn't support him, but he is our democratically elected leader. To this person I say, no you can't empathize, Bush was elected without the popular vote, and with much question into the veracity of the results in his original term. The American's who didn't vote for bush felt cheated, as theirs was very real evidence of electoral tampering. I would like to note, that Bush was legitimately elected the second time around. As for Harper, there was nothing about his campaign or the vote that was suspect. His party holds the largest share of the popular vote. While you may be unsatisfied with the results, he is beyond reproach, and you empathy is inappropriate.
I am so happy for the Canadian people tonight! You have elected a great leader in Stephen Harper. I congratulate him in his victory and look forward to a much closer relationship with our friends to the north.
Hey American dude, keep it to yourself, you really really are not helping those Canadian's who woke up this morning feeling queasy reconcile themselves to the new Government. That goes to all foreign pundits, please let us get settled.
A very sad day: 40% of Canadians did not even vote. Those who did vote said 'Our country is deeply divided politically.'
While true that many Canadian's didn't come out to vote, more Canadian's came out this time then last, this is a victory, albeit small, but lets be thankful for small victories.
It's been a few hours now since the results. Has Belinda Stronach found a way to defect yet?
Zing! While I commend this commenter for a real good one at old Belinda, I think the people of her riding have given an overwhelming affirmation of her decision. She crossed the floor to hold the government together, and also voted against her old party on a contentious issue. The people of her riding have said, 'You made a tough choice, but the right choice, and you have represented our feelings.' She ran a good campaign and has established herself as a politician, now she has another term to strut her stuff.
I vote only because I feel that it is my duty as a citizen of a democratic country to do so. However, I don't actually vote for anyone. I intentionally spoil the ballot. Our antiquated winner take all voting system produces skewed election results, contributes to regionalism and underrepresents women and minorities in parliament.
To this voted, or in this case pseudo voter, why didn't you vote for the Green Party? One of their key issues this campaign and last is electoral reform to fix this very issue. Now instead of speaking up when everyone is listening, you did the electoral equivalent of walking up to the Microphone and letting rip a big fart.
One last quotation, which is really a recursive quotation:
Winston Churchill said, 'At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper - no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of the point.' I think he said it very well.
No real comment here, this is just one of those sentiments that bare repeating.
In closing, am I satisfied with the results of the election? Yes, was it the outcome I hoped for? No, and that is democracy, and this was a most satisfying exercise of it. The Liberal party now has the opportunity to reflect, and recuperate. Even if the Liberal's had never been embroiled in scandal, I think all parties can suffer from brand fatigue after years in office. Yet just one term away from 24 Sussex and it will be a whole new ball game.
On a final note, kudos to Paul Martin, he has had as distinguished career as any politician could hope for, he had done some great things for Canada, and he has with no ambiguity made way for a new generation of Liberals to heal a rift that formed over the last few years. His concessions speech demonstrated his class and his caliber, and in honesty he looked like a man relieved of a great burden. I hope he can now settle down to the life of an MP and spend some time with his family, he has earned it.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Construction went well this weekend. The main shelf is built, and the auxiliary shelf is cut. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the 4x8's of Melamine to make the actually shelf surfaces. I will wrap that up some night this week.
Also I struck the GNDN conduits from the original plan, after some analysis I could neither determine a starting location, nor a terminus, in fact I could not sues out what the do at all. So I struck it from the build phase.
Since then, the weather experts were forced to revise there prediction due to unseasonably warm weather. According to one report, the warm weather is due to gulf winds forcing its way North, keeping the typical winter artic winds far in the North. As an untrained weather observer, I would link this year's Russian deep freeze to those Gulf winds pushing the Artic winds right over the top.
This whole weather issue is of great concern to agriculture, and winter entertainment providers, as Ski hills melt, and fields lose there winter blanket. Today, at lunch, one of my coworkers was able to, if not prove, reasonably correlate this weather, with one possible cause.
What is the cause you might ask?
Why quite simply, and irrefutably, politicians!
You see, early December was quite frigid, then the Federal Election was called, and suddenly it was warm. How could an election effect weather patterns you might wonder? It is simple, it is a well know fact that politicians are a source of "hot air" particularly garrulous ones are often know as "old wind bags." Couple this general hot air source, combined with the known increase in politician gas emissions during elections and you suddenly have a climate changing force.
"But Geoff, how come we haven't seen weather effects during other Federal Elections?"
The truth is, we have but they are unnoticeable, it is very rare for a winter election, especially not a January one, as our politicians have pointed out, they loath Christmas elections, and it's all the other guy's fault. So if we have a warm spring election it's seen as relief from winter's icy grip. Warm fall election? A welcome Indian summer. Warm summer election? Time to go to the cottage or the beach. Since warm weather is only a hindrance and most notable in the winter, previous winter weather election effects have rarely be noted or correlated.
On the up side, one way or the other the adverse weather effects of the election will be over today. After which the weather may be the least of our concern.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Look, the world is not your personal playground. Do not share with us your musical tastes; do not share with us your latest wheelings and dealings. In public places, you have an obligation to hold up your end of the implied social contract by not imposing yourself on those around you.
This is a great wired article, by far my favourite part was:
Personal note to my son: Using part of a rap song as a voicemail greeting, where the only intelligible words are "bitch" and "fuckah," is not a felicitous way of welcoming an incoming caller. While your friends may find this the height of wit, your employer and professors and parole officer almost certainly will not.
Sadly, I'm guilty of that one, with a recent cat meowing voice mail message, but I'm not pretending to be perfect. I for one have my cell on vibrate 99% of the time, unless I am expecting an important call, and know I will be in a busy/noisy/distracting enviroment. Otherwise, its on stealth mode.
The person whom I am most inclined to banish to some tortured eternity was the one who scrolled through 20-30 ringtones on the go train one day trying to see what tone and volume setting best expressed how big a jerk they were.
read more | digg story
So here is my more refined sketch of my intents on my garage.
- 10 8'x2x4
- 2 10'x4x4
- 200 3 1/2 deck screws
- 9 Steel Joist Hangers
- 2 4x4 brackets
- 30-50 Lag Screws/Bolts
- 2 4'x8'x3/4" Melamine
- 1 Tennis Ball
- 1 String
- 1 Plumb Bob
- 2 Saw Horse
I will at the very least work up the cutting schedule (is that the right jargon) for the lumber tonight.; If I get really eager I may cut the lumber, if not tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
For those who don't know the story, it is a simple one, but that is part of its charm. During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City a Canadian, Trent Evens, was hired as the professional ice maker for the hockey arena. Little did anyone know, Trent planted a unassuming Loonie directly beneath center ice. That year, team Canada went on to capture the Olympic Gold, in both Men's and Women's Ice Hockey. Since then the Loon has taken on a mystic, and has become the good luck talisman of Canadian Athletes. Each member of the 2004 summer team was given a special issue circulation Lucky Loonie. Once again the mint has produced a coin to commemorate the Olympians, and to wish them luck. They go into circulation today, and
I urge every Canadian (or at least the first lucky 10 million Canadians) to go to your local RBC branch and pick one up. (The Royal Bank of Canada is the only bank distributing them.) Put it in your pocket, or keep it in your wallet, or maybe under a stone in your garden, or the heel of you shoe, any where intentional and special and keep it there while our men and women compete for gold this year in Torino, perhaps it will bring them luck, at the very least it might remind you of pride for your country and countrymen. For best results, and if your able, put one at centre ice of any ice rink you may keep on your property, failing that, your ice cube tray.
For more details check out the official press release.
New to my book list, maybe not the essential list, but definitely on a list is Java puzzlers by Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter. This books isn't essential because it deals with some of the more esoteric points of the Java language specification. Some of them are horrible mind bending nitty gritty points that should you ever stumble upon one in the form of a bug in your program, you may pull your hair out in frustration trying to fix the problem. I don't mean to say that the book is pointless, far from it. Instead of using it to trouble shoot a problem you may have, it gives you guidelines and stratagems to avoid the ugly problems.
The format of the book is what makes it great. Each issue is presented to you as a puzzle, they either give you a piece of code, and ask you what it will do, or give you a piece of code and ask you for the initial conditions that will make it break. In both cases it pushes you to discover a corner of the language specification you never imagined, and shows you how you can avoid a problem with it. From endless loops, to bizarre print outs, to miss-evaluated expressions, the book covers all sorts of oddities that you couldn't imagine. The book is a fun read, and worth while, sometimes it leaves you pondering a problem in disbelief. At which point you leap to the nearest java compiler to run the code in question only to have the book vindicate itself with bizarre behavior.
So the book is worth reading, if you are into that sort of thing. Many of the puzzles (at least in principle) work (or don't work as the case may be) in .Net, you just have to tweak them a little.
Finally the link of this post goes to IBM's Ponder This. Truly this is the play ground of nerds. Each problem is enough to tie your brain in a knot, and the little score board of "who solved it" gives you the kick in the backside needed to ponder deeply the hidden mathematics of it all. It is a site I was just directed to by Trevor but I will be adding it to my list of links to look in on from time to time. With that I leave you for the time being.
Bill has mdae WIndows RG (Really Good edition! just try it and see how funny it is and true, i would like to see a mac version. Good Job bill, many new features include ordering good online and many Word improvents
Everything old is new, at least to digg, and in this case me. Worth a chuckle.
read more | digg story
Monday, January 16, 2006
Perhaps it is the Fred Brook's quotation that opens the article which caught my eye, or the references to the founder of my program at McMaster. In either case, a cord was struck deep in the primal engineer buried under my code monkey facade.
Whatever the reason, the article pulled me in and all the way through to its conclusion, and comments. The author has a great point, and that is "Is vs Should." Software development is a lot of things right now, and not all of them are virtuous. Cataloging and categorizing what we are is not essential, but deciding what we should be, and becoming it is. We need not focus on our failings, to proceed; we need only clearly define that, and head towards it.
What do I think software engineering should be? Is 'better' to trite an answer? Perhaps, but I feel too strongly about it that it will probably come out all preachy, and be discredited as biased.
As some know from my past writings I rarely shy from commentary, but the comments attached to this article have stayed my hand. The first was clearly from one who didn't read the article, and replied to the "what is" question without realizing that the article wished to move past the "is". The last comment (4th at the time of this writing) was simply frightening. I perceived him to be so full of arrogance the very arrogance I fear being associated with.
The last poster led me to conclude that he felt that all software development should be the purview of science, and that the rest is substandard, and those using and creating it were neophytes. Furthermore, he seemed to justify software flaws of his science aristocracy as mealy the failure of perfect science to interface with a flawed world. What I think the commented failed to realize is that Engineers create marvels of science that should be tribute to science, not scene as a threat.
From an early age, I didn't know it then, but looking back it is clear where I wanted to go. It was then I learned what an engineer was, and engineer is one who derives value from science. That sounds bad, and not what I mean exactly but it is hard to articulate. The purpose of science is to learn things, and expand our knowledge. It is discovery without focus, yes scientists have disciplines, and areas of expertise, and hypothesis that are proved or disproved, but the goal of science isn't better the lives of people, but to advance humanity. Many a scientist may never see a practical application of there work in there life time. In fact some work may never have a practical purpose of its own, but may act as a stepping stone to greater knowledge. Let me wax Newton for a moment:
If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
So if science extends our horizons, then it should continue, unfettered by the demands of society. The author of the comment seems to suggest that the scientists should be delivering the end user products to us, I argue contrawise that the scientist shouldn't constrain themselves to worrying about a product at all.
That is the place of engineers. We are the makers; it is as if we are participants in some grand literary review of the works of science. Our papers are your cars, you buildings, your cell phone calls traveling through the ether (which is at this time more true then ever before in history, but I diverge.) An engineer figures out where specific scientific discoveries fit within our society. I don't mean to restrict "engineer" to just those professionally trained, but to those who are making this sometimes non-intuitive connection between pure science, and practicality/functionality.
I'm rambling now, and I mean to cut it short. My point is, engineers need scientists, or else they would have no source of new knowledge to build new things. Scientists need engineers to give them the buffer they need to do pure research. Individuals can straddle both worlds, but it is key that both roles exists regardless of who fills them.
As I have carefully avoided my stance on Software engineering, I will say I agree with the author of the main article, and hope people read it, and understand a little bit more about this crazy software world that I work in.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Erin and I stumbled upon this master work at a local chapters, and desperately wanted to buy it, but couldn't seem to rationalize doing so. The book, Giraffes? Giraffes! (The Haggis-on-Whey World of Unbelievable Brilliance), is pure hilarity, and misinformation, while attempting to carry an air of authority on the subject. By far my favorite page is the one about conveyers. You can actually get to it from the Amazon look inside feature, you just to need to turn a few pages.
Anyways, one day I'm sure we will buy it, until then I will just rip off their title format? Title format!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Sawstop system induces an electrical signal onto the blade and then monitors that signal for changes. The human body has a relatively large inherent electrical capacitance and conductivity- if the system detects this, the blade drops out in 5 milliseconds! Check out the video when the saw comes in contact with a hotdog...
This is amazing, when I first read the digg post, I thought to myself that there was no way this could get out of the way fast enough. Then I watched the video, then I watched the video 5 more times. This is freaking amazing! As I build up my shop, I am putting this baby on my wish list. I may never be able to afford a proper table saw, nor do I have an enormous need for one (in spite of how much I want one :) but if I do, this one is the one for me.
I don't have to remind many of you about how accident prone I am, just look at old blogger-x's comments on Christmas eve and you will swiftly be reminded. While I have never removed a piece of me on a saw blade, I do have some scars from my summer as a machinist.
Anyways, this tool has been noted, and dugg.
read more digg story
Monday, January 09, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
I have begun construction around the house, and like all great construction projects you need a place to do them. So my first construction project was to build a work bench. So far so good, only one small cut from a bent staple.The following are a series of images of work bench assembly,
Step 1: Clear a work area, you can see my new miter saw on the floor.
Step 2: Cut stock to length.
Step 3: Assemble, this is actually the work bench in an incomplete state, but I need to borrow a skill saw to finish the bottom shelf.
Step 4: Finished
Tricked you no image yet.
Tricked you yet again, I have to wait until 1) its finished, 2) and I'm become a more organized person.My respect and gratitude goes out to the folks at Hammerzone, for this simple, yet effective workbench. Coming soon, storage shelves based on their plans.
Construction Man Geoff
32 feet of statement, I hope he isn't using an ATM to print that, they print about 2 pages / minute.
read more | digg story
I am a coin only collector, so while I wouldn't go after this, I can understand why its getting a lot of attention. For something like this to happen is pretty neat/weird/funny. I can't imagine what or how you could get a coin with a similar freakish deformation, but I can understand how collectors would go nuts for this, it is one of a kind, and surely will increase in value down the road.
read more | digg story
She seems to like to jump up on the end post of the stairs. From here she receives burnt offerings, ear scratches, and other worship.
Also you can see a new painting resting on the wall above the little picture. I will get a close up later, but it was a gift from my Grandmother Pam for Christmas. It was actually painted by her, and is of the Fraser River. Pam is a phenomenal artist, and this was a really awesome surprise gift for us.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
See you soon
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I would delete Blogger-x's words to prevent people from knowing my folly, but it is probably too late, curse you google cache, curse you!
This tale is of the night of December 25, 2005, a tale which by all rights belongs here in his personal blog but he has kept from you! I blogger-x shall not permit a media white wash such as this to stand; I will bring you, the truth!
As the wet snow fell upon that December eve, it clung like mud to all it fell upon. The cars lay thick in a blanket of snow, and Christmas guests had need of their vehicles to return home. While his beautiful wife nobly braved the cold to clean those cars, Geoff fomented a plan of sinister intent.
Creeping on the new fell snow, he uplifted a gob in frigid glee. Shaping it most craftily into deadly sphere form, he stalked down the driveway. As he neared is superlative wife, until he was certain his sub-zero projectile would fly true. At last, reaching his most advantageous striking point, he lunged to perform his wintry coup de grace
Karma struck first, with precognizant vengeance. The ape, that he is, tumbled to the ground, his footing lost between layers of slush and snow. He let loose his snowy parcel with futility, as gravity bore him to the ground. Before it began it was over, Geoff lay in the snow, defeated.
Ignominiously, he rose from the ground, proclaimed surrender without terms, and marched shamefully back inside. Triumphant, Erin the Virtuous never had need to lift arms in her own defense.
I must run now, he has returned; spread the word, before Geoff once more raises snow armaments.
The Viking Warlord Rudolph the Red looked out the window from his feast hall and proclaimed (in the hearty Viking way) "It is raining!"
His wife in a contrary fashion insisted, "No it is snowing."
Enraged Rudolph insisted it was rain, and marched his wife, his bannermen, all the serving wench and himself out into the precipitation in question. As it happens it was in fact raining, upon which Rudolph proudly exclaimed "See, Rudolph the Red knows rain, deer"
Now we have been enjoying, and I mean that in earnest, this coffee since about June, blissfully ignorant of the powers of our home brew station to make other coffee *gasp.* Well over the holidays Erin got a Starbuck's gift basket at one of the family gift exchanges. Included in that basket was a small sample of Starbuck's holiday blend. Hardly the most exotic coffee in the world, but something different, so for once, yesterday, when the Canadian Blend was down to its dregs I was like, "Hey, why not."
Brewing up the new coffee was like rubbing the tarnish off that old brass oil lamp, and like that lamp a magic force was released. Well I would not liken "christmas blend" to semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic powers, it was a delicious change, and a good wake up call (and I mean that in both the caffeinated and metaphorical sense.)
Why, oh why have we shackled ourselves to the Canadian Blend for so long? The merits of the megapack of Canadian blend are twofold, first off it is a fairly bland, and comfortable taste, thus making it ideal for an office environment where coffee preferences flare to the extremes, the CB offers a middle ground that no one get argue with, those with strong preferences might object slightly, but only while pouring a mug. The second reason is price, and the price is important when you are trying to caffeinate an office of 20-40 people. For Erin and I who are willing to spend 4.00 on the occasional fancy barista drink, why wouldn't we be willing to shell out the extra $0.50 to $1.00 every few weeks for a better cup of coffee everyday!
The meek and unassuming Starbuck's Holiday Blend has lifted the blinders from my eyes, and unshackled my taste buds. Soon they shall make merriment in the rich hills of Columbia and Brazil sampling all manner of roasts, and blends. Sure I still like CB, and I won't forsake it, but it is definitely going on an extended sabbatical.
Vive la Cafe, Vive la difference!