Showing posts from January, 2008

"Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is a turd

I thought it odd that when I checked-out Rich Dad, Poor Dad as a book-on-tape from the library that the first cassette was not rewound. Nor was it at the end of a seemed as though someone had stopped in the middle of the tape. None of the other tapes were that way.

Then I found out why: This book is complete crap.

I suffered through half the tape, then took the book back. The author kept spouting platitudes like "Poor people work for money, Rich people have money work for them," wrapped in some saccharine false anectdote format.

The shtik is the author is a 9-year old boy, who has two father figures. One his actual father (Poor Dad), who was (in his estimation) a loser who trusted others to take care of him--job security, government entitlements, and his standing as an academic. The other had an 8th grade education but true entrepreneurial spirit, and so he became a rich man.

I suffered through an hour of this guy's overblown, self-important crap and couldn…

Current Object of Lust: Saturn Astra

Yeah, yeah, I'm a eurosnob. Sue me.

The Camry is getting on my sure beats walking, and it gets great mileage on the highway, but I'd really like to get back into a hatchback stick with good steering. I've heard good things about the Mazda3, but I don't like their looks all that much.

The E30 has world-class steering, but it's only a coupe, it gets 20mpg on a good day, and it's loud and rides like a brick. And it's about as safe as a car designed in 1980 with 1st gen high-explosive Airbags can be (that is, not very)

The Astra's supposed to be a great car with the 5-speed--very tractable in city traffic, with excellent steering. There are plenty of negatives:'s a slave to fashion, so I don't know how well one can see out of it.
Size/practicality. Two kids (probably 3 by the time I can buy one of these puppies), and one of them will be sitting behind me.
Safety. Safer than the E30, I'd wager, and Euro standards are …

Thoughts: Approaches to encapsulation

One part of programming I enjoy is the creative process--taking a thing you've sketched out on a whiteboard, and making it come alive. Once you're at this long enough though, you start to see common problems crop-up, no matter what problem you're solving or what language you're solving it in. I'd like to think through one of those today (or at least start to...)

The problem is, I can't really give a snazzy name to the problem itself. When you're dealing with multithreaded programming, you can say "I have concurrency problems," and someone in the ether will grok what you mean. When dealing with GUIs, you can talk Model-View-Controller (MVC) all day. As my friend Chuck would say, what I have here is a "meta" problem--a problem about a problem.

The best way I can describe it is when a system is "over engineered" or "over factored": At the machine level, a program is an algorithm--a sequence of unambiguous instructio…

Scary thought for the day...

As a programmer, should it bother me that I'm beginning to think of Windows as a well-documented, flexible system? One that's not-too-awful to program in?

I beginning to understand why Rana found Java so jarring...documentation varies in quality and it's all over the place. With Windows, MSDN is your friend :D

(Note: I don't find windows secure, consistent, or all that well-designed, but after reading Raymond Chen's excellent "The Old New Thing" it's easy to see why the sins of Windows 1.0 through 3.11 really affected the designs of Win32, leading to many gaping kludges and security holes.)

Yes, Please!!!


Review: Fantastic Four--the Rise of the Silver Surfer

Really enjoyed this one, in spite of myself. Jessica Alba's hot, thought her blonde hairdo is jarring at best.

Lots of humor and social commentary here, especially surrounding Alba--she wishes for a normal life, she laments being the hottest woman on the planet, she exclaims after a 'wardrobe malfunction,' "Why does this always happen to me?!"

The beginning was very slow, as they try to ease us back into the characters we knew from the punchier 1st installment. The Four have grown very accustomed to their powers and their role as planetary protectors, so much so that they seem bored. Unfortunately, that's exactly the same feeling I get about the actors here--phoning it in, hitting their marks, but without the snap of the 1st movie. This felt more like a really, really expensive TV show than a summer blockbuster: The actors seem comfortable in their characters, and the scope of the action always centers around them. Some of the lines delivered seem l…

Rant: MFC is DLL Hell...

For my pal Jamie: GUI programming is hard.

So, the big marquee part of Microsoft Visual C++ has been the "Visual" part, where you draw-out your lovely dialog boxes using a GUI creation tool, then the IDE generates the code & and resource files from that.

Okay, so far so good, but I spent most of this morning trying to get this little MFC app I'm upgrading to run as a static EXE instead of a DLL-linked EXE. That would mean the EXE would be a little fatter, but we could ship it without the associated MSVCRT.dll and MFC42.DLL, reducing a point of failure if those files get lost or damaged. It's a win-win, right? Everyone benefits! Bonuses galore! doesn't work. The app is structured to run as a .exe with an associated resource dll, loaded with AfxLoadLibrary() instead of just plain LoadLibrary(). I hacked around it so that the app compiled and ran, but it started failing in weird places (ASSERT() statements failing, etc.)

Ultimately, MFC is a limite…

How I know I'm a good steward of corporate resources...

My 6-year-old ID badge is held together by scotch tape and a well-placed paperclip. I've worn through 4 plastic snaps to hold it tenously to my waist.

Frustrations with the Restoration Movement

I'm a member of a Restoratoin Movement Protestant Christian Church. On the face of it the Restoration Movement is a tremendous idea, hearkening to the ideas of both the early Apostolic Churches and the ideas of the Protestant Reformation. Key bullet points of our doctrine are:

We acknowledge only one authority in church matters--the 66 book Protestant Bible. There is no synod, ecclesial council, catechism, or presbyteroi. The Bible says what it says.
From that, it begs the question: "What does the Bible say?" On some things (lying, adultery, salvation, sin) the Bible is rather clear. On other things (how fast to drive your automobile) the Bible doesn't speak at all. Which leads to our doctrine: "Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent.
There is really only one "Church," that of Christ himself. That concept ties directly to the council of Nicea and the Creed: "We believe in one Holy, Catholic (that is, "…

Analysis: How to tell if you're having a redneck good time

I benefit from the polyglot nature of my upbringing. I speak two languages--English and Kentuckian. I can blend into almost anything from a discussion of Platonic philosophy through a rib eating contest at the county fair.

At the Truck Pull tonight at Rupp Arena, I realized that not everyone benefits from this, so I thought I'd prepare this handy guide. Thus:

Easy ways to tell if you're having a Redneck good time

- Men's fashion comes in two flavors: Carhardt and NASCAR

- Women have all three available hair colors: Blonde, Dirty Blonde, and Playmate Platinum Blonde

- You've never seen so many nachos in your life.

- You remark to yourself "They deep-fried THAT?!"

- The event requires ear plugs...

- ...yet most people aren't wearing them.

- You arrive in something other than a truck and people point and laugh.
- You arrive in an imported vehicle...see above.

- The announcer can embroil the crowd simply by asking who's a Ford/Chevy/Dodge fan? If the announcer…


Thought about this on the way in today...things I'd like to do before I die (yeah, alot of them are car-related, so I'd better do them before they outlaw the internal combustion engine...)

* Watch the 24 Hours of Daytona
* Attend the Skip Barber Racing school.
* (Re)Build an engine from scratch
* Do the Classical Grand Tour: Rome, Florence, Venice, Athens.
* Visit Paris (France, not Kentucky...)
* Have a ride in an aerobatic airplane/fighter jet.
* Attend the Grand Prix of Monaco
* Go sailing in the Carribean. (No Hurricanes, please!)
* Learn to play piano
* Go to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
* Visit Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Gettysburg.
* Learn Spanish (seems like a must nowadays...)
* Learn Greek.
* Read: St. Augustine, Plato, Martin Luther, John Locke
* Run a 10k
* Write a poem for each of my kids
* Contribute *something* to greater society that has my name on it...

Yes, I'd like to travel, and no, I don't see me ever doing it. The Earth is 25,00…

Ah, Kentucky Public Edumacation

Top headline on the Scott County Public Schools Homepage


Attention Parents of All Students Grades 8-12

Ready to send your kid to private school yet?

"Smart" Cars in Louisville

Sam Swope Smart

We are pleased to announce the opening of smart center Louisville at 11601 Plantside Drive in Louisville.

I think this is a reaction to the "we passed on getting a MINI dealership back in 2001 (d'oh!)". So, Swope has Smart cars...interesting. Why do I see visions of every hipster on Bardstown road grabbing one of these itty bitty things?


Congrats to the NY Giants for sending the Dallas Cowboys to the sidelines for the NFC championship game. Both the home teams lost today. All-in-all, a tremendous afternoon of football, with two of the "Locks" going down--The Cowboys and the Colts.

We get to see a January championship game in LAMBEAU FIELD, baby!! I can't wait (won't really matter, any of the AFC teams could kill any of the NFC teams, including Green Bay)...

Also, given the look on Jerry Jones's face as time expired, I don't think the Cowboy's coach should renew his country club membership in the Big D. :-)

Tales from the budget...

So, I'm looking at my budget today, and I notice that I'm spending ~19% of my take-home pay on housing (yay--well within our means), but 27% on transportation, including: Van payment, gas for 3 cars, registration, repairs + upkeep, and insurance.

:-) I'm thinking of moving to new york!

* * *

On the opposite tack, I came home last night to find that someone had left the passenger-side sliding door open on the van. For 2 hours. In a driving thunderstorm.

Yes, the water-in-the-car theme continues for me. Happily, that side was on the leeward side of the prevailing storm, and most of the soaking was the seat itself, which I removed from the van. Whitney spent the better part of an hour last night drying it out, and we left it toasting in front of my new electric heater in the garage all night. Seems to have dried, mostly.

After the experience with the Beamer, I HATE MILDEW! The smell, the way it envelops you like moldy death...ugh...

Quick hits

* We survived the squall line that moved through overnight, but both Whitney and I were up with the kids throughout the night. We avoided singing My Favorite Things, but only just.

* I was glad to hear Clinton and McCain have made a game of it in the Republican primary, especially after the press annointed Huckabee and Obama after roughly 127 people in Iowa raised their hands last week. Now the real competition can start. I do hope the American people choose someone with substance...but who knows?

* I continue to be impressed at the focus Microsoft is putting on Support for the draft C++ standard (C++0x) coming up in VS9. Visual Studio 2005 was a step sideways in many ways...many devs haven't liked any of their C++ work since VS6, really. Strategically, though, MS is making some good moves:

They've committed to 'Express' (free) editions of their tools, which are great for hobbyists and students
They maintain an active blog and keep up with discussion groups very wel…

Ruminations while Compiling

Ah the joys of compiling a large native product from scratch. The time to get a cup of coffee, or blog. Some random musings:

* The stock market is in the crapper, and will probably stay there. The economy is fundamentally flawed, the the recession has already started--no one's owning up to that yet. I'm reading Alan Greenspan's "Age of Turbulence", and I don't think we've seen this sort of market since the 1980's, though this is sort of a hybrid--recession, but without fundamental strength in finance. Actually, it might be exactly like the early 1980's, where the banking industry tried to kill itself lending money to Latin America.

* I'm rather proud of the way our new administration in Kentucky has opened a dialog on our financial crisis--the general fund will be something like 300 million dollars short for the current fiscal year. If you were one of the losers (like me) watching KET last night you saw the Republican and Democratic lea…

Maria's first migraine

Or..."How I learned to love my own child less than sleep for 10 minutes".

I've been off work since December 21st. During all that time, I got alot of sleep. I didn't get enough, apparently.

So last night, I went out into what passes for a blizzard in Kentucky to pick-up Joey from his dad's. I returned to find Whitney had a story for me--Maria had clanged her head on the crib. Hard. In her soft spot. She'd called the Dr., but the Dr. said likely everything would be fine.

Everything was not fine.

At ~2am, Maria awoke, screaming. I fed her a bottle, changed her diaper, rocked her gently, and lay her back down to sleep. She seemed to do her normal "Ah, lovely" sigh, roll over, suck her thumb and doze off.

Everything was not fine.

I made it to the midpoint of the stairs and the same cry loosed from her throat. I found her sitting bolt upright in the crib. So, I picked her up, let her finish off the rest of her bottle (2oz or so of formula), rocked …