Thursday, October 4, 2012

bloat

Remember way back in the days of Dos, or with the early versions of Windows, when a monstrous hard drive was 10 MBI remember getting my first 20 MB hard drive and thinking wow, so much space!  So much empty room on this hard drive!  Same thing with the RAM.

Of course now we're talking terabytes and growing. 

While it is nice to have so much more hard drive space and also in a smaller package, I believe that the earlier limitations on space forced software designers to create more elegant, efficient solutions. They had to figure out how to write programs that were compact enough to fit on the limited hard drive space of the day, and also make do with the amount of available RAM.

As hard drives and RAMS kept increasing, it did allow for expansion of features, etc., but it also meant an increased tolerance for sloppiness and bloat - you didn't have to be elegant and efficient anymore with your code because there was room on the hard drive for it. 

So this results in software that grows increasingly large, bloated and inefficient.   Also software that is more easily and frequently corrupted.

Now, just do a search and replace of what I just wrote, taking out the word "software" and replacing it with "government."


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

bread

Back around Christmas time I bought ourselves a Zojirushi breadmaking machine for a Christmas present. 

Unlike so many other gadgets I buy, this one is actually being put to good use. I started making bread right after Christmas and am still making bread to this very day. 

The first efforts didn't turn out too good. That very first loaf came out decidedly lopsided and dry. After a few tries, and making slight adjustments to the ingredients, the loaves got much better. Now, most of them are looking and tasting really, really good. Much better than store-bought. 

I'm not very imaginative, though - aside from a couple of raisin loaves that we gave away, everything else has been whole wheat seven grain bread. Not that I am not adventurous, but I am trying to be healthy. The bread comes out really tasty.

Many of the reviews for the breadmaker caution the user to make sure and precisely follow the directions, including the measurements, and don't get careless. So when it says add one cup of this, then make sure it is exactly one cup of this, and not about one cup of this. 

Well, I wound up adding just a bit more water than called for by the recipe, as well as substituting honey for the powdered sugar. Both make obvious improvements in texture and taste. I also add some wheat gluten that helps the texture as well. Thankfully I am not gluten-challenged. 

The machine is so easy to use. Just add the ingredients into the bread pan, set the pan in the machine, close the lid, program the machine, and then press the start button. The machine does the rest. Amazing.. the bread comes out so tasty. 

Here's a couple of pictures of the machine. I neglected to take a picture of the latest loaf but take my word for it, it came out nice


    

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

furnace filters

Today's post is more mundane than the past two days but no less mind boggling. 

I normally buy our furnace filters from Home Depot.  When I go there, I am always confronted by a myriad of choices at varying prices. The expensive ones tout all sort of hygienic features, telling you what sort of nanoscopic harmful creatures are screened out because of the fineness of the filter material. There's always a "good," "better" and "best" choice.  Is that sort of like how eggs come in "extra large," "jumbo" and "Flintstones" sizes

Naturally I want to get a filter that does its job properly but also naturally, I don't want to spend an arm and a leg either. 

As I stood there pondering the selection, here is the logic that I used. The air duct where the filter is located is inside of our house. That means that the air being circulated is air that is already in the house. Air that we've already been breathing. 

Granted, the air gets sucked through the filter and the filter catches the particles before letting it go through the duct to the air conditioner (or heater, although it seems like we have a perpetual summer) where it gets cooled off and shot back into the house. So the air coming back into the house is cleaner, or theoretically so, than the air coming out of the house. 

That's fine, but what happens when it cools off outside and we open the windows?  Then all that dirty air comes flying back into the house. So what is the point of having a furnace filter that catches particles as small as .000000001 of a micron and even filters the air out of the air?  

I guess we could keep the house hermetically sealed and continue living off the recirculated air, but (1) wouldn't we eventually breathe all the oxygen so what gets circulated will not do us any good, or (2) wouldn't we eventually have to open the door for some reason?  Plus, leaving the air conditioner on constantly would mean bankruptcy filing because of our electric bill. 

But think about it - doesn't what I say make sense?  If you have outside air coming into your house when the air conditioner or heater isn't running, then why spend all that extra money to get real expensive filters?  You can't escape from all the ewww stuff they catch anyway.       

Monday, October 1, 2012

irresponsible part 2

Hey, two days in a rowI've got something on my mind so I'm writing. Does that follow that for all the days during the long gap prior that I was mindless? I'm afraid so.

Along the same vein as yesterday's post, The Onion published another article, this one saying that 77% of rural white folks in this country would rather vote for Iranian president Ahmadinejad than Obama. Even the Iranian news agency believed it - they picked up the story and ran with it as fact. 

Does that go to show how dangerous the press is, or how stupid people are? Probably a mixture of both, although I'd have to say I would probably vote for Ahmadinejad myself rather than Obama. At least the other guy says what is really on his mind. 

If you'd like to see the story, click here.  

Like I said yesterday, these days it is difficult to tell fact from fantasy, and even what is supposed to be fact (the mainstream media) is questionable. A recent poll said 60% do not trust what the media says. However, I believe that while a majority say they don't trust the media, they are still more than happy to quote from them whenever something fits with the agenda they are trying to push.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Irresponsible

I'm back.. but for who knows how long. But in the meantime..

My cousin sent me an e-mail conveying his displeasure with Mitt Romney. Why?  Because of Romney's insensitive, insulting remarks about how America does not owe Japanese Americans any apologies for the way they were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. 

I hadn't heard about this and wanted to read about it myself so I did a Google search. The result came up with a link to a web page on The Onion.

Oh, The Onion. 

I shook my head and wrote back to my cousin. The Onion, I said, is a satiric publication and that article is just made up. 

He wrote back and told me that he had originally received the notice from his second cousin, who was so incensed that she fired off e-mails to everyone she knew, slamming Romney for his remarks. Now she had to do a retraction. I hope she did a retraction

The thing is, how many folks out there don't know it's a joke?  That's what is sad.  So many will just take it at face value and not bother to do any fact checking. And the flurry of irresponsible e-mails will continue. These days while you know you can't believe what is written in The Onion, unfortunately you don't know if you can believe the "real" media sources, either.     

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

perspectives

This morning I watched Harold and Maude. It's the third or forth time I've watched this undeniably quirky movie, the first time being in high school, when it was first released to the theaters. 

That first time, I recall focusing on the funny scenes, and also thinking that Ruth Gordon looked so very old.  She was born in 1896, so her real age was about 74 when she was in the movie, although her movie age was supposed to be 79. Now as to what I thought her true age was, well, back then I could have been guessing 60 because at that time I thought 60 was really old. 

I don't really remember what I thought about the movie during the interim one or two viewings I had of it prior to this morning. But watching it this morning, I had quite a different perspective of it than I did that first time way back in 1971. 

Ruth Gordon did look old, but not that old. She had a vibrancy about her in the movie that I appreciated upon this morning's viewing, something that didn't strike me the first time. And whereas the scenes in which she steals cars and other things, drives like a maniac and gets into mischief were merely funny back then, this time I looked up on them with the appreciation that here is someone who is really enjoying life. Yes it was unrealistically crazy, but I have to say I just admired her free spirit. 

Back in high school I would have been watching from the perspective of a kid who still had many years ahead of him - and here was just some crazy old lady hanging around with a young guy and to be doing that with such a great age difference was incomprehensible to me. 

But this morning, I was watching with the perspective of someone who is much closer to Ruth Gordon's age than Bud Cort's age - I am Maude whereas before I was Harold. And I thought about all the days that could have been that went a different way. Back in high school, all those days were still ahead of me and today they are behind me. 

Back in high school our discussion about the movie focused on the sight gags and shaking our heads on the question, could we imagine ourselves with someone that old???  It would be a very different discussion today - except that even today the scene with Harold and Maude waking up in the same bed still grosses me out. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

remember this?

Well this is from quite a while ago but it'll bring back memories for some of you.

 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

640

As I write this on Friday evening, tonight's Mega Millions jackpot was estimated to be $640 million. Over half a billion smackers. That is a truly amazing sum of money. I have no idea if anyone won it but like everyone else, I've imagined what I would do if I were the lucky winner.

First thing is I could buy any audio equipment I wanted. I imagine having speakers fly in and out of the house as I order and audition them, and keep trying different ones looking for perfection. 

And that's about it. There's really nothing else I would go spending money on.

With that much money, how could you possibly spend it?  And it is simply overkill to put it all away into a savings account or other investment because just how much money does one really need?  So I think I would probably wind up giving a large portion to the church and other charities. 

That's what I say now. Were I to really win, I think I would become a shopping fiend, buying more and more, increasingly useless and impractical stuff mainly because of having what would seem like an unending supply of funds.

There is a passage in the Bible in which the writer asks of God that he not be too rich, lest he forsake his dependence on Him, yet not be too poor lest it causes him to do evil in order to survive. He asks instead to be given just enough for his daily bread - a "baby bear right" amount. Jesus said the same thing - when we pray, ask our Father to give us our daily bread. 

I think that's very wise. No matter how good my intentions may be, I know that if I were indeed to win such a huge amount of money, that I would become foolish and careless.  Not only that, but life would be so different and probably not for the better - there would never be a moment of privacy anymore and there would be endless concerns about security (safety). 

The saying goes, "you can't have too much of a good thing" and I agree. But the thing is, what exactly is a "good thing?" After mulling this over, I didn't buy my chance at $640 million. As if I even had a chance, right?  But chance or no chance, I really do feel like the most I should ever ask for is my daily bread. God's always given that to me and there's never been a need for one bit more. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

been a while..again

Sorry to not have written anything in so long.  I've been working on a book: "Procrastinate Like The Experts Do."  It is taking longer than I thought but it should be ready pretty soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

superman

Sometimes I wish I were Superman. Like when I brush my teeth. To me, I know it's good for me and I do take the time to do it properly (so don't cringe) but I'd just as soon not have to spend even those few minutes doing it. If I were Superman I could do that in fast motion and be done in just a few seconds.

Same with taking a shower, or just getting ready for work in the morning. Plus I could fly to work and not have to deal with traffic jams. 

Did Superman's hair grow?  Because I was wondering if he ever had to get a hair cut. If so, how did the barber cut his hair?  Or was his hair not the same as the rest of his body and it could be cut like anyone else's hair?  Or did his parents thoughtfully include a pair of scissors when they shot him to Earth from Krypton? 

It wouldn't take me very long to type these blog entries, either. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

what's in a name

Yeah I know it has been a while... I just haven't had the time or inclination to really write anything. During the day I will come up with what I think are compelling things to write about but when I get home the batteries in my brain have all been drained and I don't feel like writing.

But here's just something quick..

I was thinking about how celebrities make such a hoopla over their babies - like giving them ridiculous, weird, fancy or unusual names, and going over the top by selfishly taking up entire floors of hospitals to turn giving birth into a real event. 

Well, here is really the most fantastic name you can give your baby, and it is a unisex name at that:

One

Yup, name your baby "One."  What could make anyone more important than that? Right away, it tells everyone, back off, because I am first priority. I am one. 

Now to make it even more special is the way it would be pronounced.  Like this:

"O-Nay." 


So some dimwit is going down the list reading off the names and ignorantly calls out, "One!" (as in "won") and then jokingly says, uh, did your parents intend to name you "Juan?"


Then that person can be firmly and confidently corrected. "Excuse me, but the name is O-Nay. In the future, please respect that."


Later at dinner that night the humiliated person can give a recount of the day to his understanding wife.  "Sharon, I was so embarrassed today."


"Uh excuse me, that's Shar-rone."


"Not 'Shar-ro-nay?'"

Friday, January 27, 2012

fair taxes

In his State of the Union speech the other night, President Obama called for "fair taxes."  Everyone should pay their "fair share." 

I agree (one of the few things with which I agree with him about, finding pretty much everything he said to be a bunch of rally around the flag fluff with no substance to it, sidestepping all of the things mentioned in the republican rebuttal), but just exactly how do you define "fair share?" 

Because everyone's idea of "fair share" is going to be different and essentially it boils down to what is fair for them and to heck with everyone else. 

Me, I think everyone should pay a flat percentage of their income, with no deductions whatsoever. Of course if they did that, said no DEDUCTIONS, then you'd have all the weasels who make our tax laws redefining the word "INCOME" and you'd just wind up with the same mess you have now. 

Without delving too deeply into semantics, my plan would be for income, and the definition of income being in the broadest sense, to be taxed at one rate for everyone, regardless of their income level. And there would be nothing allowed as a deduction.  

Now homeowners might applaud this but add that this is a great plan as long as the deduction for mortgage interest is retained.  That's the problem - there's way too many exceptions and that is why this country is in a mess. 

Should we have a graduated/progressive tax system?  That is, those with lower incomes pay a smaller percentage of their income for taxes (or maybe below a certain level pay no tax at all), while those with higher incomes are taxed at higher rates?

No.

Everyone pays the same rates. Why should I pay a higher percentage of my income for taxes just because I make more money than someone else? What is fair about that?  And just because you make less income, why shouldn't you pay your fair share?  Maybe doing something like that would have the effect of people investing themselves more in this country because they knew that they were paying taxes just like anyone else and they would be concerned about how that money was spent. 

Sales taxes aren't progressive. Why don't we have different rates of sales taxes for people depending on their income level? They can be certified each year as to their level, and then that card would be presented at the store to determine the tax rate. 

That's dopey and so is a progressive income tax rate. Just pay a flat percentage - you make more money, you pay more money but person A would pay he same proportion of it as did person B.

If you aren't paying taxes, then why should you care about how the money is spent (although the tax money that other people are paying is probably being used to subsidize you, the non-tax paying person in some way)? So as far as you are concerned, politicians can just keep spending away - who cares?  It's not YOUR money they are spending.

Will we ever get to that point of having truly fair taxes?  Of having a simple tax system?


No.


There are just too many special interest groups and bribes out there to prevent such a common sense thing from happening, same as how the health care system will never really be reformed. People want change as long as the change is favorable to them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

more shampoo

Have I nothing better to do than blog about shampoo? I guess not.. last time I reported I went back to using the Kirkland shampoo because the Suave turned out to be too watery.  In the meantime, I also bought a bottle of Herbal Essence shampoo since Costco had a coupon for it. 

The Herbal Essence smells nice. It has coconut in it and is an attractive blue. But this is one odd shampoo. Or else as I get older, my hair gets odder.  When I use this shampoo, it leaves my hair feeling really thick - like a carpet.  No squeaky clean feeling there!  Now this is supposed to be hydrating shampoo so maybe they add ingredients to make your hair feel heavy but smooth.

My hair is pretty darn short now (not as short as Walter's in Breaking Bad, but pretty short) so it doesn't feel that heavy or weighed down but I would like it to at least squeak a bit after I shampoo it. Now it feels like it is coated. 

That's my latest shampoo report. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

shampoo revisited

A little while ago I mentioned that I found a Kirkland product that I wasn't crazy about - their latest shampoo. I said it felt too thick and didn't rinse well and it didn't get my hair squeaky clean.  So I bought a bottle of Suave which I liked more because it got my hair squeaky clean.

Well..  I have since switched back to the Kirkland shampoo.  The Suave was just too watery. I would put it on my head and then have to race to lather it up before it ran off my scalp and disappeared down the drain. The Kirkland shampoo, on the other hand, could be described as thick and luxurious. You certainly don't need much of it. While it still does feel thick and my hair doesn't squeak after using it, it just feels better as long as I rinse it out well enough. 


Yeah, I know.. exciting post, haha. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

resolution

Are you one who makes New Year resolutions?  If so, are you one who keeps them?

I normally don't make any resolutions. I can't remember the last time I did, and whatever it was I'm sure I didn't keep it. They're sort of like diets and other good intentions that fall by the wayside.

It was nice to begin 2012 on a Sunday - to start off the day in church. It helps put everything into the right perspective. I'm often thinking how nice it would be to retire - to be able to relax and not have to deal with the headaches of work and other bumps that arise. 

But day to day, we never know what is going to happen.  We all know the cliche about the best laid plans of mice and men. So I came up with three things that I hope I can remember and act upon - perhaps not so much resolutions, but mindsets:

Be thankful for God's grace in all things.

Look forward to what He has in store for me.  God has His plan.

Be mindful of Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Monday, January 2, 2012

the new year

New Year's day fell on a Sunday this year, which it does every so often I suppose. That means the Rose Parade and all the football games are deferred to Monday.


I remember growing up, we'd always go to my grandmother's house on New Year's and she would make many of the traditional Japanese foods, most of which I refused to eat. I was a very conventional person food-wise and was unwilling to try all of those "strange" things; I stuck with the familiar. It was in line with how I'd only eat fried rice and chow mein at Chinese restaurants. 

When New Year fell on a Sunday, I found it very boring because there was nothing to watch on television. My grandmother spoke little English, and there was not much for me to do. The stores were all closed, too.  

Come to think of it, back then we would normally visit my grandmother on Sundays, and stores used to be closed every Sunday.  Trying to find any store open on major holidays was pretty much impossible, not like these days. 


How was your Christmas and New Year?  Here's to a good 2012 for you all.