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User Journal

Journal Journal: Teaching Python 4

Well, it looks like I'll be teaching one of my kids how to program.

To an extent, he's already familiar with some programming, as he's figured out how to program a TI calculator (not sure of the model, but it's in the 80s). Whether he understands the instructions he gives his calculator or not, I don't know. He'll know far more when I'm done. :)

I've decided to go with Python instead of any of several other languages available. One thing that I thought was important is that the base installation (in Linux and in Windows) has a module called "turtle". If you're old enough to remember learning Terrapin Logo or Karel (by way of Apple Pascal), then the idea behind turtle should not be foreign to you.

The idea is that you have a "turtle", a cursor that represents where all the action is going to happen. You give it instructions and depending on whether the pen is "up" or "down", it will draw as it goes. Tell it to move left, right, forward, or backward, and off it goes.

turtle is cool because its programs are really Python, whether the student realizes it or not. New functions (methods) can be created. What is drawn by the program is displayed with no hassle.

In all, it's pretty cool. I'm actually looking forward to playing around with it as I teach it to my son. Maybe one or both of the other two will become interested as well? Only one way to find out. :D

User Journal

Journal Journal: Your opinion matters... 3

...to me, at least.

Does anyone else have experience with keybase.io ?

I was given an invitation to it. I've signed in and set up a couple things, but I haven't had much else to do with it so far.

I'm curious to see what others think of it. Your thoughts?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Back into Python 1

Okay... A couple weeks ago, I decided to take another look at Python-- the first such look I've given the language since around 1997.

So far, I have the basic stuff down. I've got a quick script down that provides functions to add ANSI colors to my output, so I have that going for me. :D

I have Python 2.x on a VM on my work system, but I'm using Python3 on my home system.

Now I need to look at learning classes and lambda (I know OF classes but I've only heard of lambda in passing), and that may take me a while.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fallout 7

Pretty interesting, that Reddit has been undergoing some grief over their policy changes. Many of their readership have jumped ship (to one extent or another) to voat.co, a site that has recently incorporated as an American entity in order to improve their chances of success. Factors in play (according to their announcement) include the ability to host in the US, ability to get financial support from the readers, and freedoms guaranteed under the US Constitution.

Reddit looks tired and old. Voat appears refreshing (mostly), though some of the attitude that drove Reddit is now driving Voat. By this, I mean the Hive Mind is active there, already able to "downvoat" points of view that they don't like.

I'm really hoping Slashdot improves again. The tales I've heard of Dice wanting to sell Slashdot might be a Good Thingâ, if it means that the buyer is willing to go back to Grass Roots.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Google, my Hero! 6

Yeah, I said that.

Many, many moons ago, anyone that knows me that long might remember me asking about where to find a two-page advertisement that Sun Microsystems had put out some time around 1998. It had a picture of Sally Struthers and a caption that said something like "Thinking of running your critical apps on NT? Isn't there enough world suffering?"

Well, it's been found in the November 23, 1998 issue of InfoWorld, on pages 8 and 9.

Needless to say, I'm very happy. :)
User Journal

Journal Journal: Well, this should be fun... 3

I went to SlashCode.com and saw there was a link for the code that runs Slashdot (well, probably several versions ago). Fine. I have a file called Bundle-Slash-2.5.2.tar.gz . There's a link for instructions, BUT it's a dead link.

I wonder how long it will take before I have something useful?

If I can get it running, I'll let you all know... Pudge, if you're reading this... A little guidance would be greatly appreciated. :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Two-Factor Authentication 2

Finally got TFA working on my home system. Trying to SSH into the box will require the PIN and the password. This will only present a problem when I'm using an SSH client from my phone.

Does anyone have personal experiences with this sort of thing? (I have professional experience with it, but this is the first time I've done anything like this at home.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Undercover police cars 5

I was on my way to work today and saw a State Trooper's car on the side of the road. I knew it was a State Trooper not because of the distinctive two-tone blue that cruisers have (this one was black), but because it had several antennas and a radar gun on the driver's side.

It reminded me of the graphic that has gone around on Facebook with a picture of a police car in Europe (bright colors designed to attract attention) compared with an American undercover police car (designed to look like any other car and not stick out in traffic). It occurs to me that there are a few different reasons why American police departments (on the state and local levels) might employ cars with stealth-ish designs, one or more of which may apply:
  • The police department may not be able to afford the number of officers required to patrol all parts of their jurisdiction. Having undercover cruisers means the people are going to be more careful about their habits in an attempt to not get ticketed.
  • The police department is attempting to generate revenue for their {State|Community} by catching people off-guard.

In the first case, it would make sense, and it kinda works after a fashion. That isn't what bothers me.

In the second case, it's sneaky and underhanded. My train of thought (such as it is) went on to consider the fact that when people hunt, they have legal restrictions on what they are allowed to do to bag their prey. They cannot set certain traps or route their prey into certain areas for the purpose of killing them. If a hunter is found to have employed entrapment techniques, the Games Warden will likely take the kill and the hunter could lose his hunting license.

Why are police allowed to get away with the same sort of thing?

User Journal

Journal Journal: H2G2: The saga?

I was talking to someone at work about how some of the best political wisdom I've heard came from a Douglas Adams book, specifically the bit about how the ones who aspire to positions of authority are those least qualified to have said positions. The conversation then devolved into how the Beeb had created a site to act as a real-life Guide.

Out of curiosity, I set out to see if I could find my posts, and I did. The problem is that I hadn't posted there since April or so of 2000. I had no idea what my login was, no clue on the email address associated with it, and certainly not my password. I went back and forth with their "Gurus", explaining all this and how I would gladly answer any question they had in an effort to identify myself. I gave email addresses I used at the time, too. Next thing I know, they're sending me my login and my password via email, in cleartext.


Needless to say, I changed the password right quick.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Certification fun! 1

My employer pretty-well insisted that I get a certification. They went so far as to pay for the training and the first exam attempt.

To that end, I'm working on GCUX through SANS. So far, so good. It's pretty interesting.

From what I'm reading about how to prepare for the exam itself, it would be to my benefit to prepare a thorough index- something in the area of 30-50 pages long. O_O

Does anyone have any experience with that sort of thing? How does one know what should be in the index and what should not?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The more things change... 4

...the more they stay the same. I think.

A little over a year ago, I wrote about how I stopped playing WoW and took up ST:TOR. Now, I don't even play that.

Things have been a bit hectic at my house- My wife's computer died (constant, unpredictable reboots and a corrupted hard drive), so she's taken to playing WoW on my system. She raids often, now that she's found a guild that does that sort of thing in the morning. My sleeping period has me getting up late morning. By then, I have an errand or two to do before I start getting ready for work. Rinse, repeat.

I need a vacation.

User Journal

Journal Journal: This should be one of those "I told you so" moments... 2

...but I won't say it, even though I'd be justified in doing so.

I was just looking through the beta for Slashdot (which I don't like, by the way) and saw a "Hall of Fame" page. I looked at it and this was one of the most popular stories of all time. It was posted when Obama was elected the first time.

It's kind of depressing, in that people were saying that Obama would not change all the things he promised he would, and the lemmings tried to shout them down. I said "depressing" because so many people, all of whom should really have known better, bought into the ideals that Obama sold to them. They honestly believed (and I daresay still believe, even now) that Obama would have the power to bring about all the changes he promised.

Well, it's been six years in. I think I am safe in stating that none of his promises have been kept-- none of them that were of any substance, anyway.

I can only hope that the process that we have in place will work as it should, and Obama will not see the end of the current term. He can't complain: he has his phone, he has a pen, and he knows how to use them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Updates from Chez Timex 5

Things are going fairly well, I think.

I gave up playing WoW. I started playing SW:TOR, but found I didn't have time to play.

The only game I've been keeping up with lately is Second Life.

I've also been getting into Ingress lately. Does anyone else play? I like it because it gets me out of the house (even in these cold northeastern winter days) and I occasionally meet new people.


Journal Journal: Social media: B-O-R-I-N-G 5

Twitter? Yawn.
Facebook? Try screaming through the night, yawning.
Google+? Pft. Yawn.
Diaspora? BIG, disappointing yawn

That pretty-well leaves the Slashdot Journal. It almost feels like home.

Federal grants are offered for... research into the recreation potential of interplanetary space travel for the culturally disadvantaged.