LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
the Bartender shouts, "Battle Stations!" when you walk in, and then dives behind the Diet Coke.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
My UMP Finally Arrives!
Harold Peterson writes...
What's up with computer passwords? I went to a job application site, and they said to come up with a password that is
1. Easy to remember
2. Hard for someone else to figure out, and
3. Contains at least two uppercase letters, two lower case letters, four numbers, and three nonalphanumeric characters
Even for a scientist, 1 and 3 seem to be in conflict. (For example, HpKw050406?!?! satisfies 2 and 3, but not 1.)
Still in school,
I'm glad you brought this up. There are many in the security biz who have come to the conclusion that it's more secure if you create a very strong password that is very hard to remember, so you do write it down and put in in your wallet. Since most people are good and keeping their wallet secure, the password is fairly safe. If you do not mark what system the password is for, even better. Otherwise, people use the dog's zodiac sign as a password, and that's just too easy to crack.
However, in light of the restrictions you are under, may I suggest Matt_Peters_is_@#^%ing_idiot_2134? It not only is easy to remember, and strong, it is also true.
Let me just say this. Why the hell do we still have daylight savings time? Ben Franklin invented this 200 years ago to put the daylight hours when farmers would be awake to work the fields. In the 21st century, what's the point?
This new DST law is further proof that Congress doesn't know anything about technology. Not even a decade ago, we were working our asses off over Y2K, and then these Bozos decide to change the clocks and don't consider how many computers are going to be screwed up.
Thank God, Senator Ted Stevens is there to keep the tubes clear!
If no one has kicked you up side the head lately, you might not have noticed that VHS is a dead format. A couple years ago I decided to start transferring all my old VHS to DVD. I got a Go Video deck with both a VHS recorder and DVD recorder with one touch dubbing. The deck was interesting in that it, in very large and unfriendly letters, said that if you put media rated for faster than 4X burning in the DVD recorder, it would self-destruct. I thought this was interesting and called Go Video about this. No one could really explain this limitation. I found sources for slow media and went along my burning way.
I replaced the Go Video deck with one from Panasonic. I was now free to buy whatever media I wanted. But one day, the deck went psycho and refused to play anything because the parental lock had been turned on so high, even Disney stuff was considered lewd. In fact, no human had requested this. I called Panasonic tech support and was given the secret three-finger-salute which would reset the deck. Another day, it decided I had a 480p NTSC television. I had to navigate the menu system through the side-by-side flickering image to select 480i. Luckily, the Panasonic manual was detailed enough to be my guide dog. This is the moodiest piece of electronics I've ever owned.
The Panasonic kept being an annoyance. Every other month, locking the parental codes, or even just locking out all of the controls. But the last straw was when it started making finalized disks that would not play in other machines. It was a sign from above. Time to toss this turkey and get something else.
The replacement is a Toshiba RD-XS35 DVD recorder with 160 gig hard drive. That's how it's sold. It's really a 160 gig PVR with a DVD burner strapped on. The truth is, you use the hard drive to record and edit, maybe time-shift TV, and the DVD is used to burn final edits and watch movies. I know better than to make wild boasts only a few months into owning it, but I'm hopeful that this one won't wear out in a year, or need constant medication.
My laptop finally died. I've had this one for about three years. I took it almost everywhere, even India.
Statistically speaking, the iBook 700 was the worst Mac Apple ever made. Almost every problem they were known to have, I experienced. But even with those problems, this was the most usable machine I've ever owned.
I've mentioned before that, in this biz, I'm an old fart. The first computer I programmed was a main frame via paper punch cards. My father had programmed in this method for at least 10 years before I came over to the Dark Side. The language was Fortran which is what he had used in his work. My first computing experience was not fun. The Fortran interpreter would blow off your program because you spelled .AND. without one of the dots, I was amazed it wouldn't just correct the error and get on with it. I took the class in college as an elective, wrote the programs, swore at the computer, and then moved on with my career in broadcasting.
I thought that was it for computers until my sister bought an Apple II, and later the original IBM PC. The Apple II was fun. You could play video games without shoving quarters into it. I then found the built in BASIC.
"It's a computer."
"What's it for?" he said not really giving me the impression that he was pleased.
"I'm going to play games on it and learn to program."
I got into the BBS craze of the 80's. I had gotten my hands on a copy of a BBS program that ran on the Apple II. It was in BASIC and could be modified. I ended up expanding it so much that I filled the 64K of RAM. When I wrote my game, I kept the phone line connected while I unloaded the BBS and loaded my game. This was the only way I could figure out how to get around the limitations of the machine.
"Where's BASIC?" I asked.
"Dunno, let's go to the computer shop and ask."
This was a big deal, because up until then, I had always had programming languages available to me. Even the Vic 20 down at the drug store had BASIC in it which I would use to write short insulting programs.
20 PRINT "THIS IS A REALLY CRAPPY COMPUTER. GO BUY AN APPLE ][."
30 GOTO 20
When I was at Big A Software I did one of the first photo-realistic computer edited photographs. It was 2000 dpi and used the alpha version of the company's pixel editing program, the first to have layers. So I had stacked five layers, each 35 meg in size, plus an extra alpha channel per layer to control what pixels from that layer would be visible. The file was about a quarter of a gig in size... in 1993.
In 1993, you would be damned lucky to have a drive that could store this. But wait, there's more! I needed another really large drive to use as a scratch disk while I edited the image. I begged, borrowed, but not quite stole gigabyte drives to get the work done. The only way to transport the image to the color house who printed it was on one of those gigabyte drives.
Storage wasn't the only problem. I couldn't display all of the pixels in this picture on the screen. I was making a lot of blind guesses. The first printing of the picture had a large yellow circle in the middle that wasn't supposed to be there. I had to guess that what I was doing would remove the circle because I could not see it on the screen. The second printing worked.
So from my point of view, until recently, computers have sucked. They were never adequate to my ambitions.
In Crap9804 I wrote about the need for the Unified Mac Platform (UMP). This would save Apple from extinction. I specified that the UMP needed to run Mac programs, but also needed to run Windows without interpretation. So there had to be an Intel processor on the mother board. It had to run Java natively. I was thinking Java on a ROM. It had to have RAM and storage beyond anything ever made. Oh, and it needed a 56K modem and a CD ROM.
The computer I bought to replace my iBook is all of that and more. For once, I really have a computer that doesn't suck. The new machine runs Mac, Windows, and UNIX programs. There is an Intel processor on the mother board. Java is built in, but not on ROM. It has RAM and storage for days. A modem? Nope, but who wants a modem these days? 802.11 b/g/n instead. CD ROM? Instead, a duel layer DVD burner.
Looks like I'm going back to India. This time I take only one machine with me, and it ain't the Lenovo T60 WTHAIS provided. The T60 is a great machine, and honestly it doesn't suck either. But my new Mac will do everything the T60 will do, and it does everything I do in my private life as well. Considering I'll be in India for a month, I need as much of my world with me as possible.
Dick Cheney's Life in Danger!
Android Vice President Only Compatible with Exploding Laptop Batteries
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"The next Indy movie is titled, 'Indiana Jones and the Medicine Cabinet of Doom'."
"The freakin' DMV won't let me have a license plate with 'GFY' on it."
"Your feeble skills are no match for the power of stupidity."
"Please give me your kidneys."
"Tranquilizers or Caffeine? I've haven't decided which to use today."
"Did you watch the Oscars?"
"No, I wasn't nominated this year."
I need a new stylus.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people in the Bush Administration.
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