Clinton’s Interview on FoxNews

Sometimes it’s easy to forget what it’s like having someone in power that can actually make an intelligent, reasoned argument. Someone who makes informed, intelligent decisions, and thinks before acting, as opposed to acting, then justifying.
Chris Wallace interviewed Bill Clinton on Fox News recently, and tried, as Fox will do, to spin the conversation into simple little “groupthink” boxes – “Democrats are weak on terrorism”, “Clinton should have gotten Bin Laden when he could have” etc etc.
Clinton completely smacks Wallace down with details, facts, and truth. The video is fantastic, but the transcript needs to be printed and mailed to household that thinks GW Bush and the neocons are doing the right things for the future of the US and the world.
Update: Fixed some broken HTML. Sorry.

Deluded Blues World Tour, 2006!

Wake the kids, phone the neighbors! Break out the VW Minivan, it’s time to hit the road and support your local band!
Yep, Deluded Blues has a couple kickin gigs coming up in the next few months. That means you should romp on out and come hear us play! If you like going back to the days where there were still blues in rock, we’re talkin Clapton, CCR, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, then this is the place you want to be.
Our next show is September 30th at the All Star Bar and Grill in Marlboro. This is in the Best Western Royal Plaza just off Rt 20, and is a great venue. The food in the restaurant is good and the space is clean and comfortable. No cover fee, just come down and kick back and enjoy the show!
We start between 8:30 and 9, and will most likely play 3-3.5 hours.
(On a personal note – this is a place we’d lke to play a lot more, so the more folks showing up, the better, as it’ll assure us of further bookings 🙂
Hope to see folks there on Saturday!

Hack! Upgrade! Modify! Tinker!

When I was but a wee geek lad, I remembered happy weekends spent tinkering with my wonderful geek toys, learning what they could do, finding new programs for them, or writing my own. Cloudy rainy days were perfect times to spend 40 hours straight in the basement, fiddling around with my Franklin Ace, or playing Wizardry.
Looking back on that now, I realized those many hours were spent with no external communication other than an occasional phone call. I wasn’t on IRC, or chatting via IM or even really doing more than one thing at a time. One program, one computer, one task. I boggle at that now, wondering how it held my attention.
yawlToday I’m getting an echo of those times. My primary desktop machine, yawl, has been getting my squinty-eye look. Normally I consider machines fairly static, hardware wise. Upgrading, tinkering, modifying, and improving are limited to basic things like “I’m out of memory, I need more.” But in looking at yawls performance, I decided that the machine could do with some tuning.
The first thing that was needed was a kernel modification. I was getting sound stuttering and abysmal network performance with my Linux 2.6.16 kernel as delivered by Debian Etch. Some research on the net showed that this is frequently cause by the kernel not running in ‘pre-emptive’ mode. A newly downloaded kernel, a make-kpkg and dpkg -i later, and I had a machine that was much more responsive and not prone to stuttering when moving large files around on the network.
“Right!” said I. What’s next? Wellll, I had already upgaded the machine from the stock 512meg to 2gig. When running huge environments like Eclipse + JBoss, coupled with the voracious Firefox, things can get filled up pretty fast. This machine only supports 2gig of memory, so I can’t really go past that (though there are bugs in KDE, specifically in the tool ‘korgac’ that are showing massive memory leaks – if I do not shut down korgac manually before I go to bed, I’m out of memory in the morning. It’s that bad). So I had to look elsewhere.
The Dell GX-260 has a pretty abysmal video system, using an embedded Intel VGA board. While I got it running under X at 1280×1024, it wasn’t as zippy as I wanted, and I really wanted decent GL performance so I could tinker with XGL. The Intel board simply could not do it.
Off (virtually) to Newegg where I ordered a new nVidia GeForce2 6200 card for a whopping $44. It needed to be half-height (since yawl is a small formfactor machine), and this morning, I happily installed it into the machine. Installation was a snap, but then I faced… THE DREADED KERNEL CONFIG.
Now, okay, it’s not THAT bad. But nVidia support in Debian etch is not as streamlined as it could be. As I type, the kernel has just finished rebuilding, with the nVidia modules built as well. In a few minutes, I’ll hit the the reboot, and we’ll see if the new drivers work.
Beyond that? A new hard drive might make sense. With all the intense loading and unloading I’m doing, the WD 20gig drive I’m using really isn’t scaled for this sort of use. A 10,000 RPM drive with a large buffer would probably be a huge improvement.
Tinkering. With my machine. To make it better. I feel like all the mod-hackers that tinker with their machines day in and day out, overclocking, modifying, and scurrying around for parts to get the best performance out of their machine. I used to think that “The CPU was it. Fast CPU = Fast machine.” Yawl has a 2.26gig P4 in it. But it needs good support to run at speed.
This is fun.

My Daily Conversations with Eclipse, Pt II

My ongoing conversations with Eclipse (see this older post for Pt 1)

dbs “Edit that.”
eclipse “no.”
dbs “but it’s open in the editor.”
eclipse “nuh uh.”
dbs “*enter*enter*enter* CMON!”
eclipse “nope”
dbs “owait, i’m in the svn browser aren’t i?”
eclipse “_I_ knew that. Don’t know what your problem is..”
dbs “fine, java perspective, now edit.”
eclipse “if you insist.”

An old programmer…

… can learn new tricks?
As part of my current contract, my employers are embracing new procedures and techniques for application development. While the normal buzzwords of “EXTREME PROGRAMMING” and “Agile Development” are being bandied about, they’re not being whole-hog embraced, with the managers marching zombie-like into an undeliverable product schedule. We’re trying new techniques such as scrum product development, and utlitizing sprints to structure short-term deliverables and milestones.
Since I got the core of my production programming experience with this same company almost 18 years ago, when there were only 3 employees, me being number 3, I find it fascinating to see the same programmers trying new tacks to take on the complexity of developing modern code.
In the Good Old days, our entire code base was perhaps 80,000 lines. One developer easily understood every aspect of the application, and could comfortably keep up with customer and internal needs. The current codebase is over a million lines and growing, and no one programmer understands it all. This is not a disaster story, it is one companies’ normal evolution as they grow and expand. In this case, they have lucked out to have a person in charge who is not only a brilliant programmer, but also an open-minded manager and a good communicator. He recognized the pitfalls of 20 years of development on his product line, and is making careful, planned, and deliberate changes to the company’s development methodology.
Of course, the panic element for this is… the changes being applied involve shifting their platform onto a framework I designed for them over the last 18 months. No pressure, really. It’s only the future of this company and it’s 20-some odd employees, not to mention the respect and 20 years good will of the owner. The same owner who gave a young programmer his first production development position.

9/11 a year later. Politics win, people lose.

Think the US is in better shape than it was 5 years ago? Think that the 9/11 commission actually answered any questions or was an impartial inquiry? Really think that President “It’s a criminal act. NOWAIT! It’s a WAR! YEAH! Get the tanks out!” Bush has done ANYTHING to help the US in the last 5 years?
Think again.
My disgust with the state of US political scene continues apace. And people still think Bush is good for the country.

Zipping along the Minuteman Trail

dbs goes zoom

Originally uploaded by bk7j.

On Saturday, blk, Zach and I went for a bikeride along the Minuteman Trail. We weren’t sure if we’d ride the entire length or not, but in the end we covered the entire trail – Alewife to Bedford and back again, a total of about 21.5 miles. Barb did the entire trip on rollerblades, which was quite an accomplishment. According to Mister Bike Computer, we were going between 8 and 10 mph, which is a slow for me, just right for Zach, and fast for a blader. It averaged out. 🙂

On occasion, I’d give Barb a tow (she’d latch onto the back of my bike and I’d pedal for a while). At one point we cranked up to about 20mph (about as fast as she was comfortable going without pads on).

She snapped this picture while rolling along next to me… it’s the first decent pic I have of me riding. I always thought my ‘bent was huge and bulky, but under me, it looks like a toy 🙂

You know you’re from Jersey when…

Following the train of gakkedness, Alyxyn referred to Tom’s website and noted that a discussion had sprung up on The Straight Dope regarding Tom’s list. I reproduce it here for your enjoyment:

You don’t think of citrus when people mention “The Oranges”.
You know that it’s called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter.
You’ve known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
You’ve eaten at a Diner
You remember that the “Two Guys” were from Harrison.
You know that the state isn’t one big oil refinery.
At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen
You know what a “jug handle” is. (Not a fat roll on the body)
You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
You know that the state isn’t all farmland.
You know that there are no “beaches” in New Jersey – there’s “The Shore”. And you don’t go “to the shore” – you go “down the Shore”. And when you are there, you’re not “at the shore” – you are “down the shore”.

And yes, every one of these I went “Yup.”