Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Morning Cat Call

I wanted to test the new blogspot.com video upload but the video I chose isn't a file, its a weblink. Therefore, you are just going to have to click here to see it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mr. Bean's Holiday

For my birthday movie I saw Mr. Bean's Holiday. Release in US summer 2007 staring Rowan Atkinson. Rowan was the Black Adder in the 1980s British historical comedies of the same name. The French web site is interesting, check it out (Engrish).

<spoilers> Plot outline: Mr. Bean wins a trip to Cannes where he unwittingly separates a young boy from his father and must help the two come back together. On the way he discovers France, bicycling, and true love, among other things. </spoiler>

A sweet sensitive film. Pretty much a silent film with a solid musical score and audible dialog cards (occasional speech when required). Very loose collection of small vinyets, slapstick or silly, some times tragic.

Bean --> Beam (of light)

A beam of light striking out from its source to its destination with a one track pointedness of purpose. I hate to say child like, more naivete and oblivious to the past and future, wonderment in the moment with a ever present eye to words. His goal-the beach in Cannes. contrasted by the brash American self absorbed film maker, Carson Clay, going to the film festive to premier his artistic police drama Playback. Self important gray scale monogram on the ultimate question (listen to this podcast if you don't get this reference.) Bean splices his cinema veritie under the sound track of Fast Forward providing what could have been a heavy handed commentary that skillfully straddled the fine balance of sentiment, sweetness, affirmation, resolution of subplots, the strength of the nuclear family (reunited) realization of the hopeful if not naive dreams of a young starlet with the unruffled single minded focus of The Bean.

He checks a map for his destination/goal and literally walks straight for it guided by his compass and inability to be distracted. Cool high speed trains throughout the movie serve to reinforce the 1 track metaphor.

Bean is not distracted like a small child or a kitten, his attention changes to things normal adults no longer see. He stays in that moment until it has left (time to move on) for another, seamingly arbitrary, undirected...where was I?

As the film unfolds I realized it is unforgivingly linear and direct. Like a beam of light it travels straight illuminating many things, taking on their color, slicing through time and space without regard for anything enviromental.

Like many of the films I love, Mr. Bean's Holiday is not fully resolved until the final frames, after the credits. If you talk to anyone about this movie ask what they though about the final scene of Beans foot in the sand. I wagger that if they stayed to the end then the film may have impacted them like it did me. [spoiler deleted]

Fade to black.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Importance of "good" passwords

Poor choice of password. In setting up my new Mac I am making use of the Keychain app to record all the various passwords required in today's networked security aware world.

I am now using more complex site specific passwords that are almost imposable to remember/crack. But since they are all written down in the Keychain I can find and use them as needed. Some I only use once a year.

Gone are the days of running hash tables in my mind, remembering who I was dating when the account was set up, playing 20 questions to have the password changed when I don't remember, getting locked out when I use the "wrong" passwords three times in row, remembering who I was dating the last time I was forced to change the password, what name I assumed at that site, et cetera.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Films shot in Auburn

Auburn's Black & White Ball is tonight and the theme is James Bond. This got me thinking about some of the films that have been shot in and around Auburn.

That great stunt in XXX, Triple-X, where Vin Diesel's character Zander drives a red vet convertible off the Foresthill Bridge. Many of your hikes grant a view of this stunning bridge. We just watched it again, now that I know the area it is very clear that they actually jumped the car over the side and the stunt man air surfed the slick red Corvette through the air before pulling his parachute.

One of my favorite DVDs is The Hire staring BMW and Clive Owen. The episode where he is transporting the heart for transplant was short at Circle Bridge on Mosquito Ridge Road (not far from the Foresthill Bridge).

Some time after moving to Auburn I bought our own copy of Phenomenon shot in old town Auburn and countryside. I always like the movie and now it is even more sentimental because I know the town.

Auburn was the setting for best selling author Morton Thompson's 1954 novel and film Not as a Stranger. Thompson lived in Auburn after the war and drew the characters from his experiences here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Paint Me On Velvet

Goto ALL site.

I'm a man of few words
But a few is enough
A man don't need to talk
He just gets up and walks
When the going gets rough
I've got feelings down deep
Still I think you don't care
I've made up my mind
Got to leave you behind
And start living out there

So paint me on velvet
And do not disguise
The bright silver teardrops
That you've brought to my eyes
Hang me out by the roadside
For the whole world to see
Jesus and Elvis
The Confederate flag
And Willie and me

Ran away to a motel
But before I checked in
Met a bouncer named Steve
And decided to leave
For a gathering of men
With our drums in our hands
And our hearts on our sleeves
We stood around in the rain
Just sharing our pain
And learning to grieve

So paint me on velvet
And do not disguise
The bright silver teardrops
That you brought to my eyes
Sell me out by the roadside
And there we'll all be
Jesus and Elvis
The dogs playing poker
And Willie and me

Find some on eBay.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Windows XP to iMac port

Yesterday I received my new iMac with a 24 wide screen display. Cool. Before doing much more I want to investigate Move2Mac. Here is my checklist for porting (see also Apple page).
  1. Backup copy of Quicken file
  2. Backup the My Documents onto external disk
  3. Backup cygwin content files onto external disk
  4. Virus scan C: and external disk
  5. Export email contacts as vCards
  6. Run Outlook 2 Mail (O2M) program
  7. Export IE bookmarks

Here is my checklist for importing to iMac.

  1. Download software upgrades
  2. Install iLife
  3. Mount external disk
  4. Copy My Pictures to Pictures
  5. Copy My Videos to Movies
  6. Copy My Music to Music
  7. Copy My Document to Documents
  8. iTunes setup
  9. Sync iPod
  10. Import vCards to Address Book
  11. Configure Mail accounts
  12. Sign up for .Mac
  13. Buy Quicken
  14. Install Microsoft Office software
  15. Install Mozilla Firefox
  16. Import IE bookmarks to Safari
  17. Import IE bookmarks to Firefox

Double Sticking Practice

Many others may reply to your post in more detail but essentially there are two strands of double sticking, those at the 'top end', that is where the beater hangs down from the hand, and the other which is more centre based. Last time I saw Mel play he was a centre player. Most players these days do a bit of both. All that is said below can be used either way.

Double sticking involves a departure from the traditional 'down up' technique, to a 'down down up' style. The reason for this emerging style was to accommodate more syncopated rhythms that the traditional style found difficult or impossible to achieve. Everybody has their own way of getting this double downstroke Shiobahjn O'Donnell does it by mimicking the drag roll of a snare drummer, allowing the beater to bounce off the skin in a single downstroke action. The sound is quite effective but to my mind does not give you the measure of control, which was one of the main reasons for going to double sticking in the first place. Most players make two distinctive beats on the downstroke followed immediately by an up stroke. The first part of the down stroke, (which in 'top end' drumming is the first of two strokes away from you) is more of a tap, with the second stoke following through to the up stroke. Many hours of practice are required before this action becomes natural, but once achieved its advantages immediately become apparent.

Firstly, by combining double sticking and conventional down ups, you can engineer your play so that all your accents are on downsrokes. Many players find this to be an advantage, although I personally don't stick to it. An up beat accent always sounds different to a down beat one, and adds a lightness to many rhythms, so I use a fusion of the two which adds a measure of interest to the tune instead of merely repeating the same thing over and over again. For example, many a jig has a twelve beat cycle broken down into two sixes. For this I play DduDduDudUdu, (two double sticks of three notes each and traditional 6 note jig to finish). This routine adds a nice variety to the tune and can be further lifted by missing one of the traditional notes out. DduDduD-dUdu.

However the main advantage is the ability to place accents in positions that traditional sticking does not allow. The simplest of all is to put the accent on the second note of a set of three, dDu dDu. Placing the accent in this position causes the first note of the set of three to become the grace note to the accent, (a note that tells you the main beat note is about to follow). This type of action allows you to syncopate a rhythm in ways the lend a little swing or jazz into the playing. for example for an 8 note reel, instead of playing DuduDudu, you might give it a swing by playing DdudDudu (DOWN down up, down DOWN up down up). This has an incredible lilt to it even though the two accents are in the traditional places.

All of this takes a while to sink in but once you are happy with your double sticking try the RHYTHM SCALES as an exercise. The idea is to go through every rhythm from 1-16, integrating double and single sticking to get your numbers right. I have listed a few below as a starting point. Where I have a hyphen that is a paused note, but where I have a comma this is merely to separate visually the parts, there is no break in the rhythm, play the sequence as though the commas are not there

1 D-D-D-D
2 DuDuDu
3 Ddu,Ddu,Ddu, or grace noting dDu,dDu,dDu
4 Dudu,Dudu, (the motor rhythm)
5 Ddudu,Ddudu, or rather dDudu,dDudu
6 DudUdu,DudUdu (pineapple apricot)
7 Ddududu,Ddududu, of rather dDududu,dDududu
8 DdudDudu,DdudDudu or the paradiddle DDudUUdu,DDudUUdu
9 DdududUdu,dDududUdu
10 dDudDududu,dDudDududu
11 DduDduDdudu
12 DduDdududUdu,DdudduDudUdu,
12a or the syncopated version which is a 5 and a7 rolled together, 
13 dDudDudDududu,dDudDudDududu
14 DdudDudududUdu, DdudDuduDudUdu, an 8 and a 6 rolled together
15 DdudDududDududu,DdudDududDududu, an 8 and a 7 rolled together
16 dDudDudDuDudUdu,dDudDudDuDudUdu, 3 x dDu followed by a pineapple 
I play each one for a little while then change to the next in the sequence. When I get to 16 I go back to 1. Because the sequences vary as you go you have to stay alert, but because of this it doesn't get boring. Beginners usually try 1-6 first and the go on to 1-9 etc. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Once you get into the higher numbers there are endless variations to choose from, make up your own. And finally you can add triplets or rolls at any time to make it a bit more explosive. For the double stick triplet you merely put 4 notes wherever there is a DDU. This roll is made up of a dudu.

Naturally the caveat in all this is that the music determines what you play, but the ability to switch rapidly from double to single sticking in any combination means that you are ready for anything those pesky musicians can throw at you.

Happy drumming

Alan Collinson

[Posted to Bodhran@yahoogroups.com on September 11, 2007.]

Friday, September 7, 2007

Android dreams come true

I don't know about electric sheep but the final approved definitive 20 years better late then never someday before I die new and improved version of Blade Runner (movie) will be shipping in December. Order now. There are five DVDs in this "All-New Final-Cut" release. However, they are selling subsets so you can buy sets of 2-disc, 4-disc, and 5-disc. I don't see the point of not getting the complete 5-disc set especially since it comes in this cool briefcase. If you are thinking about getting this as a gift for me, jaya, talk to Sharon before you click on the order now link.

Modify + to compute the right answer

Root cause analysis, ha, ha, ha.

Allow me a brief rant. Consider the program:

a + b

This is a very failure prone program because it fails silently in many useful cases.

Root cause analysis would suggest that one should modify + to simply compute the right answer in all useful cases. This has been done by programmers over and over but these implementations of + are judged "odd ball" by management who would rather run a strict java or c# shop out of some weird distortion of the "prudent man" rule. (The prudent man rule says that you can't be accused of being reckless with your investor's money if you are doing the same thing everyone else does.)

I wrote financial software once and traced the root cause of difficult bugs to the implementation of + for data of types Date and Money. Fortunately I was programming in Smalltalk where the implementation of + was accessible. I took several days to correct these deficiencies after which my life, and that of my customers, became much better.

You might be thinking that there is nothing wrong with + and that Ward is just being cranky. I then say to you, you have not gone far enough in your root cause analysis.

And I say to business, who has selected and paid for most of today's computing infrastructure, you are fools for having funded 50 years of software and not yet gotten a + that works well for time or money.

I once advised an international company on how to implement a useful + for money. The developers loved it. The customers loved it. But the database didn't like it much at all. I met one of the developers a few years later. He asked, "do you have any idea how hard it is to persist that money abstraction to the database?" Yes, I had to admit that I knew it would be trouble but I also knew that they would get through it somehow once they got hooked on getting right answers in all of their money calculations.

(Aside: The database problem comes from the fact that the sum of a+b can take twice the storage of either a or b when a and b are international currency. This requires either a variable size storage mechanism or preallocation of space for hundreds of currencies. Databases favor neither solution. Again business has been fooled by the database vendors, not the programmers.)

I saw recently where the IEEE was proposing a standard for "decimal floating point" under the misguided believe that this would alleviate rounding errors. They are fools, for they attempted to do this within fixed sized storage, the one "feature" of floating a "point".

(Aside: The program a / b introduces additional potential errors which are again more correctly solved by variable allocation of storage than by "floating" a "point", decimal or otherwise.)

I have intentionally stopped one sentence short of offering a complete solution in each of these cases. This is so that you can print this email and give it to the next Six Sigma guy that comes around as a test. Ask him to explain what I am talking about. If he gets it, ask him why he isn't hounding the vendors into fixing + instead of bothering you. If he doesn't get it, ask him how his methods are going to work on large programs when they can't find the bug in a + b.

(Aside: I heard that my financial software written for DOS is still in use today managing trillions of dollars. I also heard that the current owner/vendor was trying to meet customer demand by porting it to an industry standard database rather than the "odd ball" one I wrote for them. This porting effort was not going well. No surprise.)

You may need to read this post several times to get all the good advice that I've hidden between the sentences. I thank you for your attention. Best regards. -- Ward

This was posted to software-testing@yahoogroups.com by Ward Cunningham, 09/07/2007.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Carlos Gavito, tango wisdom

Photograph by Pablo Corral Vega Carlos Gavito and Mariana Dragone; stillness in the midst of chaos.

"Relax to go, arrive and stretch.”

"Never go for the step, go for the music.”

"The secret of tango is in this moment of improvisation that happens between step and step. It is to make the impossible thing possible: to dance silence.”

“A woman is not a marionette. She should be treated like she is the most precious thing in your arms.”

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Garden Lighting

Dave came by with the draft of the landscape design. I've started thinking about power and lighting. Just found this Outdoor lighting supplies site, brouse it to see what is available. Here are our notes from the Landscape Design Class.
  • Low voltage, not solar
  • defused glass, reduce glare
  • sconces illuminate without getting in your eyes
  • well lights or up lights
  • high quality equipment, Home Depot crap will need replacing is a couple of years
  • plan early, install after plants
  • low voltage wires run under mulch
We are thinking:
  • uplighting the oak outside the master bedroom.
  • moonlight patio from oak
  • accent light on water feature
  • illumine the steps next to the drive way
  • massive shadow out of front planters up side of garage
  • Japanese maple shadow under parlor window
  • uplights along pateo rock wall to highlight stones and grasses
What do we need to do in order to have session outside after dark? Want to see each other but not have to read any music.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Changes by Alan Price

Everyone is going through changes No one knows what's going on. And everybody changes places- But the world still carries on.

Love must always change to sorrow And everyone must play the game, Here today and gone tomorrow- But the world goes on the same.

Everyone is going through changes... Now love must always change to sorrow... Everyone is going through changes... Now love must always change to sorrow... Everyone is going through changes But the world still carries on.

Barbecue Basting Brush

ATK has done a study of barbecue basting brushes, now I know what brush to buy when I get my new gas grill. Precision Grill Tools Super Silicone Angled BBQ Basting Brush
The Precision Grill Tools BBQ Silicone Basting Brush, had all the features we required. In addition, it had a uniquely angled head that gave us greater control and precision.
You can buy it now on Amazon.com. My birthday is later this month.