Saturday, December 30, 2006

What's up with the 72 Virgins bit?

Do terrorists really get the 72 virgins in Heaven?

How does that work? See this funny video in YouTube.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

A (Microsoft) codename a day: Sedna

Mary Jo Foley comments on Microsoft's Code-name tradition. This time it's Sedna, the next version of Visual FoxPro, and she gets the description of the codename, and the product, right. Nice to see happening once in a while.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

The beach on Christmas day

A warm (82F) and very windy Christmas day. Not good beach conditions, with riptides and strong current due to the wind (maybe 10 to 15kts at times). This beach sign I just saw says it all.

No such thing as snow in Christmas in Miami Beach, as you may have guessed.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Andy Kramek's Design Pattern Series:"Chain of Responsibility"

Andy Kramek gives us another installment of his Design Pattern series. This time on we all use, often in error handling routines, "The Chain of Responsibility" pattern.

Clear and detailed explanation and examples as usual.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Dean Martin and Foster Brooks

For you aviation lovers out there, here's Dean Martin and Foster Brooks!. Hilarious!

(Thanks CBris!)

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Isn't there any decency left?

Sunny Isles Beach, a small coastal city near Miami Beach, has for the last few years gone through a construction boom, replacing the old low-rise beach hotels with million-dollar monster condos to the point where there is no beach parking and almost no beach public access.

Today, the Miami Herald reports "Landmark Rascal House deli a casualty of building boom" where this 54-year landmark (we had lunch there two weeks ago) is closing soon to make room for yet more condos. Shame on them!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have a festive FSMas!

Happy Holidays to all!


(Via Pharyngula)

Reason for the Season

Carl Sagan Memorial: 10th Anniversary

December 20th is the 10th Anniversary of Dr. Carl Sagan's passing.

There are many articles and blogs posted today commemorating his extraordinary life.

Here are a few examples:

Celebrating Sagan
Carl Sagan Blog-a-thon
Carl's son Nick on the Blog-a-thon
What I learned from Carl Sagan

I am also reminded of this excellent article from Ann Druyan (Carl's widow).

We remember you Carl. There's still much work to be done.

More Andy on Design Patterns: Strategy

Andy on the Strategy pattern: "What is a Strategy and how do I use it".

Very good, clear explanation with code samples. Well done.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Andy Kramek - Design Patterns

Andy Kramek continues his series on explaining Design Patterns. This time "The Bridge".

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Michael Shermer and the perpetual blindess test

This is a clip from a talk at TED (Technology, Entertainment, design) given by Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine. At around 3 minutes mark, he showed a clip about perceptual blindness (the basketball pass experiment). If you have not seen it, pay attention, and see if you can count the ball passes accurately.

Worth watching at YouTube.

(Via Neatorama)

Ronaldinho: Touch of Gold

For soccer lovers, view it here.

Still Decidin'

Would be funny if it wasn't reality.

Mark Fiore's cartoon. View it here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hilarious: CNN: Flatulence on plane sparks emergency landing

CNN: Flatulence on plane sparks emergency landing

Next they are going to ban beans from airport restaurants.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Fox is alive in Brazil!

Cesar Chalom comments on the Brazilian Visual FoxPro Conference held last week in São Paulo. Looks like it was a good conference. It shows that not only North America and Europe can put together well-run, well-attended conferences on VFP!

(Via Andrew McNeil)

Tag: Visual FoxPro

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joel on SQL Injection

Another good post by Joel Spolsky. This one I've seen myself happening often.

I work in a company where data security is taken seriously and that is the way it should be. We are very aware, and trained, as software developers to try to build our sites as secure as we can make them. I always look for common vulnerabilities in my code, SQL Injection bugs being one of the most common things I look for.

Not only I want to produce good and secure code, but I would have egg on my face if I failed a Penetration test (and we have those done often to our apps), by such a basic oversight.

Try what Joel did in sites that ask you questions to get you some data. You'll be surprised how prevalent this very serious bug is out there.

Joel on newfangled overpaid efficiency consultants

Joel Spolsky has a great post ("Oh, the emails you'll get...") on the Harvard, overpaid, big corporate consultants that come in, at great cost, to offer their golden insight.

Want to know how many big corporations get their priceless advice? Read on. It's true, I've seen it happen.

Good links to learn about Generics in .NET

The concept of Generics is old hat to seasoned .NET developers. While at the Connections conference last week, I attended Kathleen Dollard's session on it and was interested to learn more.

For those of you not familiar with it, Microsoft defines Generics as

"a feature in version 2.0 of .NET (not available in NET 1.1) and the
common language runtime (CLR). Generics introduce to the .NET Framework the
concept of type parameters, which make it possible to design classes and methods
that defer the specification of one or more types until the class or method is
declared and instantiated by client code

Sounds complicated, and it is, because Microsoft's explanation makes it so. Actually they are a lot easier to understand with the excellent series of articles by Charlie Calvert (here's Part I, Part II, Part III).

Charlie writes:

"Generics help developers write type safe code that is easy to reuse. They
help catch errors at compile time, rather than at run time. Generics make it
easier for developers to write code that is self descriptive. In particular,
they can help you avoid the confusing syntax and side effects involved in type
casting and boxing. When writing containers, they can also help you write one
class for use with many different types, rather than forcing you to write a new
class for each type that you want to handle."

There you have it. Don't use ArrayList in NET 2.0 as you used to in NET 1.1 Use generics instead.

See also:
Jesse Liberty (O'Reilly's Books) Intro to Generics

Sunday, November 12, 2006

German FoxPro Conference this weekend.

The 13th German Visual FoxPro Conference was held in Frankfurt this week. As always, the reports coming in speak of a great conference, one that unfortunately I could not make.

Read the reporting by the Universal Thread and by Rick Schummer (parts I, II and III). Congrats to Rainer for putting up a good show!

Tag: Visual FoxPro

Back from a good conference

Spent a week in Las Vegas at the ASP.NET Connections Conference. I heard the attendee count was about 4700. More than I expected, yet the organization, logistics and food were excellent for a conference of this size.

The venue was first class at the Mandalay Bay. Although I registered a month or so before and the hotel was sold out, they contracted the spill at the Luxor, just next door, which was fine.

There were several simultaneous conferences, as is customary with DevConnections, and the attendees are free to move between them. I spent most of the time in what interested me, mainly ASP.NET and Visual Studio 2005 conferences. I kind of skipped out of the main keynote early as it was a just a marketing blurb.

The main point of the conference was AJAX which I was interested in. The group keynote, by Scott Guthrie was excellent, as is customary with him. I always enjoy his presentations which are light on PowerPoint and heavy on demos and code.

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML), is not a new technology, but an interesting one. Microsoft's "ATLAS" project codename, has been renamed ASP.NET AJAX and is almost ready to RTM (very soon). It basically allows you an easy access to creating client controls and client code (replacing DHTML and much JavaScript coding), and an ability to call the server from the client, without using postbacks. Note that postbacks are asynchronous which allows the website to keep running, (pages do not wait to load) while the call is being made and processed.

JavaScript is a nice client scripting language, that you can currently debug and step-by-step into with Visual Studio 2005, even with Intellisense support, but it is cumbersome and tedious to debug by hand.

Hint: If you want to put a breakpoint into a block of JavaScript just add the keyword: debugger in its own line where you want to break. The browser (IE) will stop (if you configured it correctly to allow debugging) and allow you to launch a second copy of VS 2005 and step through with intellisense.

All said, JavaScript gets to be a major headache once a program gets too big. Most developers (VB.Net or C#) are not trained in JavaScript and its nuances, and would rather not have to deal with it in too much detail. MS ASP.NET AJAX tot he rescue. It works on top of the existing Visual Studio 2005 IDE, with nothing extra to buy, just a simple download of the toolkit.

It comes with about 30 free controls ready made and ready and simple to use. Scott promised that within a short time there will be a much bigger offering from the community (open source) of maybe 50 to 100 extra controls). I attended all of Scott's presentations (there were several). You can see his slides and demos here.

He also had a great session on "Building and using a LINQ for SQL Class Library with ASP.NET 2.0, where he showed the latest on LINQ. Check it out if you are not familiar with LINQ (Language Integrated Query) which will be available next year in the new version of Visul Studio.

I also attended sessions by Kathleen Dollard, an old friend and VB MVP, on Generics in .Net
Kathleen saw me the first day, wearing a Visual FoxPro 9.0 T-shirt and came to me: "Alex, why are you wearing a communist shirt?". "At least I was not an MVP for a dead Language and had to switch to Visual Fred, Kathleen".

The sessions by Dino Esposito on Middle Tier in .NET and another one on Design Patterns were very good. Dino gave a link to a nice complete code sample on the Northwind Starter Kit which shows a middle tier and creates objects to conform to Northwind sample database provided with Microsoft's products.

I saw my friend and fellow MVP Rick Strahl and attended one of his sessions on AJAX. As always an excellent speaker who knows web-development inside-out.

Spent some time in the trade show, especially at CoDe Magazine's booth, visiting with friends Marcus Egger, Ellen Whitman and Mike Yeager.

All in all , a great conference and a great time in Vegas. As an aside, I had a mishap where I stupidly lost my camera. As many of you know, I am a photography enthusiast and my camera was not a cheap one. I spent countless time with American Airlines lost and found to no avail. Bummer.

Note: Also check these good articles on AJAX by MSDN, Scott Guthrie, 4Guys from Rolla.

One issue I have with this Conference (and most other conferences I've been to), is that, after reviewing the CD and material provided, there is a lack of information. I am accustomed to the way we do conferences in the Visual FoxPro world, where all presenters provide a whitepaper, besides the stack of slides and code samples (see this excellent analysis). Most presenters in this conference did not provide any more than a copy of their stack (exceptions are Rick Strahl and Scott Guthrie among the few). Considering that the thick book you get is mainly a printed copy if the stack, with lined space to write in your notes, what is the point of repeating that on the CD, without any other comment or clarification? The point of the material provided (which we paid for), is to be able to see an article explaining the concepts, and hopefully some code samples to go along with it. Considering that you cannot physically attend all of the tracks and sessions, it is more important to leave you with decent and accurate material.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Out this week in Vegas at DevConnections

I'll be out this week in Las Vegas at the 2006 DevConnections Conference (ASP.NET Connections and VS 2005).

I'm doing a lot of work in ASP.NET (C# 2.0) lately so it's good to keep up to date. I only use .NET for web work (webforms) and still use Visual FoxPro (VFP 9.0) for Winforms.

.Net data handling is good but it is still not a fast and easy to use RAD tool as VFP is for Winforms (fat client).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Excellent article on CAPTCHA's effectiveness

Jeff at Coding Horror wrote a very good article on CAPTCHA's effectiveness.

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart invented at Carnegie Mellon University and named as an homage to Alan Turing.

According to Jeff Atwood's tests in the article mentioned above, just a simple, even static CAPTCHA stopped over 99% of the comment SPAM. A pain to be sure, but a way of life nowadays.

I do not get many comments, if any, but CAPTCHAS are on for his same reasons. I do have to battle the scourge of SPAM in a couple of Wikis I work with daily, where CAPTCHA's are not a good solution (for an open Wiki). It is not fun to keep these idiots at bay.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mary Joe on Longhorn, Vista and VFPx

Mary Jo Foley comments on Windows Vista and Longhorn ("Forget Vista. Long live Longhorn client!"), adding some comments on SednaX/VFPX project at the bottom:

The “SednaX”/VFPX project in the Visual FoxPro world is one prominent example. “Sedna” is the code name for a set of technologies due out from Microsoft in 2007 that will make Visual FoxPro 9.0 interoperable with application components created by using Visual Studio 2005, the .NET Framework 2.0, Office 2007 and SQL Server 2005.

Visual FoxPro X (VFPX), formerly known as SednaX, is a set of open-source add-ons for Visual FoxPro under development by the VFP community. VFPX is not a Microsoft-backed project, but seems to have Microsoft’s blessing (at least an unofficial one, as it is hosted on the GotDotNet Code Gallery site.

The VFPX initiative, born in October 2005, is more than 800 members strong. Members are working on a variety of components that will complement VFP 9.0. The components are set to be released under the terms of the Microsoft Shared Source license.

The are some innacuracies: "As every longhorn fan knows microsoft cancelled the longhorn project and started the new os ‘Windows Vista,’ said RayM". This is not exactly so, as Longhorn was the working codename for the project, which client part was later renamed to the marketing name of Windows Vista.

Besides this small issue, it is always refreshing to see VFP commented on the mainstream media as it justly deserves.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Space Shuttle launch seen from high flying plane

Amazing photo of a Space Shuttle launch seen from the ISS!

[Update]: Turns out the photos were from some high-flying research plane, but beautiful nonetheless.

(Via Garrett)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Senator Nelson vs Harris debate

I saw yesterday's debate for Florida Senator between the incumbent, Bill Nelson and Katherine Harris.

I don't have a clue as to why would Senator Nelson even agree to one debate. She is trailing in the polls by over 25%. Her performance was pathetic. Not one original thought, all her responses were canned and taken out of the White House playbook.

The surprising point was that they even agreed in some of the issues. Senator Nelson is a middle of the road, somewhat conservative Democrat with a good record as Senator, Insurance Commissioner and Shuttle astronaut before that. Harris claim to fame is as Fla. Secretary of State during the 2000 election where she decided to close the reccount early and send the election results out (eventually to the Supreme Court) with the results we all know.

Great coverage of Southwest Fox 2006

Unfortunately I missed the 2006 SouthWest Fox Conference this year but there is a great deal of information from the onsite reporters for the always excellent UTCoverage (including photos), to several conference speakers that have commented, all of them in a very positive way. Here are Doug Hennig's, Rick Borup's and Rick Schummer's comments for your enjoyment.

It was, by all accounts. a great conference. I'm sorry I couldn't attend.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

FoxPro Community Lifetime Achievement 2006 Award goes to Doug Hennig!

Doug Hennig [MVP] gets the Visual FoxPro Community Lifetime Achievement Award. It was given an short while ago by Ken Levy [MS] at the Southwest Fox Conference today.

Doug Henning, a long-time Fox Developer and MVP, is really deserving of it. Way to go Doug!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Why you can't close on Pocket PCs

Excellent post by Mike Calligaro at the MS Windows Mobile Team on why the "X" button on does not really close the app.

You may agree with their design decision or not, but it is refreshing to see somebody from a big company explain whay they do products the way they do.

(Via Andrew McNeill)

Earthquake at Rick's house!

Rick Strahl reccounts his experience at the Hawaii earthquake yesterday morning. 7:15 AM on a Sunday, sound asleep, then this roar and then the shaking starts.

Mind you, the epicenter was on the Big Island, and he lives in Maui (90 miles away). Luckily nothing bad happenned to his house. Just the bears got scared, that's all.

Stay well my friend.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Visual FoxPro -Sedna - October 2006 CTP released

Microsoft released Sedna's October 2006 Community Technology Preview (CTP) today.

Go get it here and give it a spin.

[Update]: Craig S. Boyd and Bo Durban have worked out an issue with installing SP2.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

FS2004 amazing videos

A few videos made by the MS FS2004 wonderful user community, showcasing the work of very talented scenery designers and airplane creators. Relax and enjoy! (and yes, your FS9 can look this good too).

Cool video featuring Brazil
The new Dornier DO-27 in the also newly released Portland Scenery
The Chase (B&W)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Finding SQL injection vulnerabilities with Google

This is a very interesting post about someone finding SQL injection vulnerabilities with Google.

His result is that 11.3% of sites from the initial population of URL's he tested are vulnerable, which is way too high.

This is from SPIDynamics, a web apps security company, creators of WebInspect, and a company from which I have received training.

(Via Bruce Schneier)

The risks of dying with your passwords

Interesting story on the risks of dying without telling anyone your computer passwords.

Taking passwords to the grave

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New free Compression Library for Visual FoxPro!

Craig S. Boyd [MVP] has published a free Compression Library to create and read ZIP files and compress strings directly from FoxPro.

This is a great alternative to commercial programs ike Dynazip and others.

Well done Craig!


Received 2007 MVP Award!

I am honored to have received the 2007 Microsoft MVP Award today.

I have received this award continuously since 2001 for my contributions to the Visual FoxPro community.

I can be found online usually on the Microsoft Newsgroups (Spanish and English), MDSN Forums, and the Universal Thread.

Thank you Microsoft for this honor.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Isaac Asimov Talks about Computer and Robot

Isaac Asimov, biochemist, and exceptional writer talks about Computers and Robots.

YouTube link via Neatorama.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Seitz Digital Panoramic Camera

Here's the biggest, baddest panoramic camera you would ever see. The Seitz 6x17 Digital Panoramic Camera can take photos at a resolution of 160 million pixels (7,500 high x 21,250 pixels wide). Each complete photo weighs in at 950Mb.

No more having to take a group photo and having to tell everybody to squeeze in a little closer!

The only drawback is that it costs 28,900 Euros.

Solar transit of ISS and Atlantis

This is an amazig picture! Thierry Legault, an excellent astrophotographer in France, patiently prepared, and was lucky enough to photograph the Space Shuttle Atlantis two days ago, right after separation from the International Space Station.

He caught them both in the same frame, with the background of the sun, and from Earth!
He used a Takahashi TOA-150 refractor telescope, (diameter 150mm, final focal length 2300mm), a $9,000 telescope and a Cannon 5D camera and lenses.

The exposure was 1/8000s at 50 ISO, extracted from a series of 14 images (3 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.

This made the Astronomy Picture of the Day today. I've never seen something like it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy me mates! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

"Avast belay, yo ho, heave to,
A-pirating we go
And if we're parted by a shot
We're sure to meet below!"
"Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life,
The flag o'skull and bones
A merry hour, a hempen rope,
And hey for Davy Jones."

To arms, me lads! The spoils of the snack machine shall be ours, to each in a fortieth share!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The size of Tech-Ed Boston 2006

I don't think I commented on the size of Tech-Ed 2006 conference that I attended in Boston back in June (blogged here).

There were about 12,000 people attending! It was the biggest conference I've been to.

The logistics were nightmarish, yet they went without a glitch. Look at (part of) the lunch room on a photo I took from the walkway above. Tables as far as the eye can see.

The Programmer's Bill of Rights

Jeff at Coding Horror hits the nail on the head with his premise that it is stupid for a company to pay a good salary to a programmer and then give them hand-me-down old hardware. Therefore he proposes the Programmer's Bill of Rights.

His basic rules:

  • Every programmer shall have two monitors
  • Every programmer shall have a fast PC
  • Every programmer shall have their choice of mouse and keyboard
  • Every programmer shall have a comfortable chair
  • Every programmer shall have a fast internet connection
  • Every programmer shall have quiet working conditions
I am fortunate to work for a company that believes in all these dictums and provides a wonderful and productive environment. The only one that I do not fully get is the quiet conditions as we work in an open-space environment. This is easily solved with a good set of headphones and your favorite music. I'm all set.

See the whole list and reasons in his article.

Schneier: Recovering Data from Cell Phones

Bruce Schneier has a post on how easy it is to recover private data from cell phones.

"Trust Digital of McLean, Virginia, bought 10 different phones on eBay this summer to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses. The phones all were fairly sophisticated models capable of working with corporate e-mail systems..."
Why don't cell-phone manufacturers offer a clear-all function? The only way I know to really protect your information is to destroy the phone. There has to be a better way.

Favorite FireFox extensions

Joel on Software talks about his favorite FireFox Extensions. I was already using two of the three, but did not know about IETab.

"IETab takes advantage of the fact that Internet Explorer is available as an ActiveX control, which is available to be embedded in any Windows application, to open certain websites in Firefox using Internet Explorer. Whenever a website comes up complaining that you need to get "Netscape 4.0 or some other modern browser" you can just right click on the tab and it'll pop up right in Firefox being rendered by Internet Explorer. You can set up a list of websites that always come up in IE tabs."
An excellent addition. It allows me to avoid having to load IE separately for certain Microsoft sites. Well done!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Free FS 2004 add-on sceneries ready for download

As mentioned before, I was also busy creating some sceneries for use in the Tongass National Forest (Alaska), with the excellent Tongass Fjords for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004.

This scenery covers 70,000 sqKm of some of some of the most breathtaking country anywere.

The recreation of islands, mountains, lakes and fjords is breathtaking. Adding animated AI airplanes, cruise ships, Coast Guard Cutters, fishing and pleasure boats, and even kayaks, the area comes alive.

The creators of this scenery, the same people that had done Misty Fjords (covering the area around Ketchikan), have extended and improved the area to the North, covering Wrangell, J. Petersburg and Sitka. See a comparison of Tongass Fjords scenery with photos of the area.

My sceneries comprise a few real-life National Forestry Service rental cabins , most of them very remote, with access only by boat or float plane (pictured: Devil's Elbow Cabin). All my current series of cabins can be downloaded for free at the user community sites for Tongass Fjords (here) and Misty Fjords (here).

If you like to fly in FS 2004 and you like bush flying, do yourself a favor and get these add-ons and companion free sceneries.

Note: I am no artist. Before you think I can draw and paint, I'll tell you I used Abacus EZ-Scenery which allows you to place library objects and build sceneries that anyone can use without needing a copy of the program installed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jon Stewart reaches out to the President while Little Richard gives us the low down…

Hilarious The Daily Show bit on President Bush's 9/11 (or was it Iraq's) speech?

Video posted at Crooks and Liars.

Captain Haddock's curses

Neatorama points to a wonderful collection of curses from one of my all-time favorite cartoon characters: Captain Haddock.

David's List of Favourite Captain Haddock's Curses.

Dictatorial duck billed diplodocus!
Thundering herd of zapotecs!
Links: Wikipedia
Official Tintin's Website

Converting a String to an Enumerated Value

Kevin McKneish, a fellow MVP, wrote an interesting tip:

You can convert a string to an enumerated value by using Enum.Parse(). For example, the following code converts the string "Int32" to the corresponding System.Data.DbType enum value:
Param.DbType = (DbType)Enum.Parse(typeof(DbType), "Int32", true);
Useful stuff.

Simflying recorder

An FS simflying friend, Chris Brisland opened a new blog "Musings of a sim-plane painter".

Cris is a very talented sim-plane painter having done many wonderful repaints for bush and aerobatic planes (mostly found as free downloads at Avsim, where he goes under the moniker of CBris).

Lately Chris has found a great and fun free tool, a sim-fly reorder. This is a tool that lets you record your flying, then allows you to play it and see it from different angles, and insert yourself into it, therefore allowing for such wonderful things as flying formation or aerobatics with yourself!

Here's a link to some of CBris's wonderful pictures.

Slow to blog

Sorry for not posting lately on this blog. I've been busy with work and with other online contributions (mainly VFP - Visual FoxPro boards) and also been busy as an editor in the English Wikipedia (my user page), where I'm part of WikiProject Argentina.

Another reason, which you'll see later, is I'm working on some sceneries for MS Flight Simulator 2004.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mashup: Claude Lelouch's Rendezvous

Amazing video and connection to Google maps.

"On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris.
No streets were closed, for Lelouch was unable to obtain a permit."

This legendary French movie of a Ferrari racing through the early morning streets of Paris combined with Google Maps is so cool. Follow the instructions and enjoy!
There are reports that the film was staged, the car sounds were added and the speeds never reached over140 kmh (85 mph). In any case it's worth watching.

(Via Ursi's Blog)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My fascination with the Metro

Metro station
Ever since childhood I've been fascinated by Metros, their architecture, art and operations.

When I was 10 I had already travelled most of the Metro grid in Buenos Aires by myself. I was fortunate to live in a big city with a well established grid. Buenos Aires opened its Metro in 1913, making it the world's 12th metro system and the first in South America.

To this day, the older lines still maintain a nostalgic atmosphere with its great architecture and old-style cars.

I never miss an opportunity to ride it again when I visit.

A new on-line Gallery, "Metro Arts and Architecture" shows you the best of the Metros of the world. Not to be missed.

[Update]: fixed typo

(Via Neatorama)

Ricky Gervais Explains Creationism

Via Nag on the Lake

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why an atheist and not an agnostic?

Some people ask, why an be Atheist? As you cannot prove or disprove the existence of God why not be an Agnostic?

The answer is that although the existence of God or a god cannot be disproven, most of the available evidence points to non-existence. Science can explain a lot that we humans could not before, and therefore looked for supernatural explanations. And science will explain and understand a lot more in the future. It looks more and more like belief is just a crutch.

A short video by Richard Dawkins explains it much better than I ever could:

Nancy Giles tells it like it is

Nancy Giles on CBS Sunday Morning, shared with us her thoughts about how safe she feels after the latest terrorist plot was foiled by the UK.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A parade of fools

Oy, the company atheists keep…

(Via Pharyngula)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Star Trek Inspirational Posters


A wonderful set of inspirational posters.

(Via Cynical-C Blog)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kissing Hank's Ass

A clever parody. Why do I get the feeling that it sounds familiar?

Wouldn't you want to get a million dollars after you leave town?

Richard Feynman demonstrates quantum electrodynamics for the layman.

Richard Feynman demonstrates quantum electrodynamics for the layman. Unbelievably well done.

He did have a knack to explain complex subjects in an easy way and open your mind.

Worth watching!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Travel and Leisure Magazine names Buenos Aires 7th best in the world

Travel and Leisure Magazine named
Buenos Aires, Argentina as one of the top-ten best cities in the world (ranked 7th this month).

A questionnaire was sent to subscribers from January to March 2006, ranking cities on sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, and value.

The list includes Beirut, which sadly has deteriorated during the current crisis (after the poll was taken in march).

I'm glad to see a great city like Buenos Aires recognized. If you have never visited, you must consider it for your next travel plans. You'd be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel has the right

It bothers me a lot when I read comments from people berating Israel on the current conflict with Lebanon.

You may argue that Israel has gone a little overboard on its reaction over Hezbollah's kidnapping of two of its citizens and the constant firing of rockets into Israel.

My question is: who are we to judge Israel's response to terrorism and murder?

Remember that Israel is a very small country surrounded by hostile neighbors with huge areas, huge population, unmlimited funds, and almost all of them with a hatred of Jews. If the Arab countries stand idle when atacked, they might lose a city or a few miles along the border (as it happened before). If Israel stands idle it dissappears.

We have to understand that the stated goal of Hamas and Hezbollah is the annihilation of the Jews. Are we, the world, ready to condone genocide? It happened in Rwanda and Kosovo. It happens today in Congo where if you do not agree with these genocidal maniacs, or convert to their brand of religion, they'll kill you.

Israel has the right to defend herself. There is a Lebanese Government, isn't there? Is the Lebanese Government unable or unwilling to reign in Hezbollah? I do not know which is the answer. I do now that Israel is fed up and decided that the Lebanese Government did not hold their end of the deal made when Israel left Southern Lebabon and U.N. Resolution 1559 said they have to disarm Hezbollah and get them out of Southern Lebanon. This, Lebanon has not done.

At least not all Arabs think that way. Youssef Ibrahim has published an excellent article: "Arab Majority May Not Stay Forever Silent":

"Yes, world, there is a silent Arab majority that believes that seventh-century Islam is not fit for 21st-century challenges. That women do not have to look like walking black tents. That men do not have to wear beards and robes, act like lunatics, and run around blowing themselves up in order to enjoy 72 virgins in paradise. And that secular laws, not Islamic Shariah, should rule our day-to-day lives."
I have heard some Americans calling talk radio shows and critizicing Israel. I ask them, if we had an armed group inside the USA (say in Southern Arizona) that started shelling Mexico and hitting cities and civilians, would the US condone it? Hell no! The Feds would take action immediately!

What would happen if the reverse was true and the Mexicans (or anyone else) started attacking us? It has happened and the reaction was swift. After 9/11, we attacked Afghanistan to get those responsible for the deed.

It was done by the USA way before that when in 1916 General Pershing led a punitive expedition into Mexico to retaliate for Pancho Villa's attack in Columbus, New Mexico.

You still think Israel should stand idle and not respond to attacks on her country?

You should also remember that Israel is a democracy and has many Arab citizens. I rather be an Arab in Israel than a Jew in Lebanon.

If you agree, or don't, please feel free to make informed, civilized comments to this post.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bush and his pig

Watch this clip and explain to me how anybody can think that Bush isn't retarded. The world is going to pot and all he can talk about is a pig roast?!

(Via Cynical-C)

Link to the video.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fiat Volpes: Execute Selection in Visual FoxPro IDE

Rick Borup (Fiat Volpes blog) wrote a good post on a basic feature of VFP that may not be readily apparent to beginners and some more experienced Foxpro users. You can always select a piece of code from the program editor, or the Command Box, and execute it while in the IDE. He gives a detailed example with screenshots.

Just be aware that any variables created under the executed code are private to that code and get lost (out of scope and released) when the execution finishes.

Well done.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Google Click fraud and the problem of authenticating people

Bruce Schneier has wrote an interesting piece about Google's Click fraud and how can you tell it is not a bot repeatedly clicking or several hijacked computers doing it.

It is a tough problem to solve as Google can attest. That is the principle behing CAPTCHAS but they do not solve all problems.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Article: Using Visual FoxPro to create data-centric web pages

Fancy finding an article on Visual FoxPro on a Visual Basic.NET site. Using Visual FoxPro to create data-centric web pages, by Jayaram Krishnaswamy is published in ASPFree .com

It shows an example, full with step-by-step screenshots of how to export an MS Access table to VFP and using the VFP wizards to easily create a web page.

You can even vote on on how you liked it. It's always good to see more exposure!

(Via Craig Bailey)

Monday, July 10, 2006

My blog is 2 years old this week!

This blog is 2 years old this week.

I started in July 2004. It seems like yesterday.

Happy Birthday!

The Big Religion Chart

This is a very interesting comparison chart.

The ReligionFacts Big Religion Chart is an attempt to summarize all the complexities of religions and belief systems into tiny little boxes on a single, quick-reference comparison chart. As we always warn with our comparison charts, this is no substitute for reading about religions in greater detail. But this religion comparison chart can (hopefully) be a useful and accessible way to "get the gist" of some unfamiliar groups and compare basic beliefs and practices of the world's religions.

Today is Nikola Tesla's birthday. Let's celebrate!

Today is Nikola Tesla's birthday. Here's a ton of links on everything Tesla.

He was an outstanding inventor and one of the great minds of the 20th Century. There are an amazing number of technologies in current use that owe a thanks to him for.

When you look at an AC outlet today, give him a thank you.

(Via Pharyngula)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Italy's World Champion!

Finally the 2006 World Cup is over. Italy has won over France in penalty shootout. It is a pity that it has to come to PKs but the game has to end at some point so the rule is fair.

The final game was not great and it was marred by Zidane's stupid and unsportmansly conduct and ejection.

There were better games such as Argentina-Mexico, maybe the best of the Cup but in any case it was a great Cup, very well organized and thoroughly enjoyable. I am sorry my team - Argentina - did not get to the final but I am happy for the Azzurri. They did a great job!

Now we have to wait another four years for the greatest sports spectacle on Earth.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bush Pilot: A good explanation as any

The Germans have the answer to why GWB acts the way you see on TV. Now we know.

What's the difference between a pope and a frill-necked lizard?

Not much except the lizard looks less scary and more natural. Pope Ratzo certainly looks goulish enough.

Hooked on "The 4400"

I seldom watch network TV preferring to rent videos every so often. I had never heard of the series The 4400 on USA Network until Netflix recommended it as something I might like. I read the excerpt and decided to give it a try then rented the first DVD with the pilot episode and immediately got hooked.

The premise is that 4400 people got abducted by some kind of aliens or something (not explained until later). The abductions took place at different times from 1946 until 2001. Then one day all of them get returned to Seattle in a ball of light (seemingly a comet that comes to Earth). Time has not passed for them and they are all confused, not knowing what happened. Some of them start showing signs of special abnormal abilities, most of them for the good. The show is written and produced by some of the screen writers and creators of Star Trek TNG and Deep Space 9, René Echevarría and Ira Steven Behr. Ira was the main mind behind the development of the Ferengi race and the creator of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

Even though it is Science Fiction it does not have many special effects or green alien monsters. Instead it deals with human relations, racism, religion, government's the power grab on the name of security and many issues we live through in the world after 9/11.

In the last two weeks I saw all the first and second seasons. They are now on their third season and I'll have to wait until they start repeating or until it comes out on DVD later in the year as this is certainly a show you'd want to see in sequence.

If you like well-written science fiction you should definitely give this one a try.

Lewis Black on Santorum’s Folly

A week old now but the bit by Lewis Black on Jon Stewart's program about that moron Senator Rick Santorum having "found" WMDs is very funny.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Doug Hennig's sample code on SQLXMLBulkLoad. Great stuff!

Excellent example from Doug Hennig who's working on a better way to upload data to SQL Server in bulk, or as Bob Archer puts it: "A VFP Upsizing Wizard that actually works".

Doug shows the use of SQLXMLBulkLoad, finally a good way to automate uploads through COM.
Basic requirements are to have the SOAP Toolkit and the SQL Server Client Tools. It is easy to use as Doug shows and it sure beats shelling out to bcp.

Well done Doug!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Still crazy about FS2004

I never get enough of simming in Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2004. It is such a wonderful and realistic simulation with a huge community of dedicated hobbyists creating more planes and sceneries of real airports and areas around the world.

A bunch of us get together and fly online in real rtime with plane-to-plane communication via voice-over-IP. It is fun, free and wonderful. What else would you want for a rainy afternoon!

Here are some recent screenshots by some of my fellow enthusiasts. Take a look.

American Airlines B757

Long Nose Dora

Qantas B767

Kansai Intl. Airport (Japan)

Hapag-Lloyd B737 Salzburg to Madeira

Alaska - DeHavilland Beaver amphibian - cargo run

Howard 500 over the Swiss Alps

SU27 and P51

(above picture of Howard 500 was taken by LucysJohn)

Foxpro alive at Tech-Ed's Press Room

As Craig points out, Visual FoxPro was mentioned time and again by Mary Jo Foley and other people in Tech-Ed's Press Room.

The Fox lives on as it is still is the best desktop-database and object oriented RAD development system out there. At Tech -Ed 2006 there were a couple of people sporting Fox T-shirts.

Surely you hear more from the PR machine about Java, C# or other more sexy languages but there are countless Fox programs and developers toiling away daily in every country oin the world.

Just look at the TIOBE ratings (admittedly not very scientific) but it gives you an idea that VFP is out there as it is still in TIOBE's "A" list as of July 2006.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Insect photography

insectAwesome collection of insect photography.

Lots of delightful creepy-crawlies.


(Via Cynical-C)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Chris Pirillo led a "Users in Charge" conversation at Bloggercon this week. Afterwards on his blog, Chris called on all users to provide constructive feedback to product creators and developers by including the term "freedbacking" in their blog posts.

By writing about "freedbacking" in your blog you can give feedback, constructive criticism, or anything else youwant to contribute to the developers of blogreaders and news aggregators.

(From Bloglines News)

VFPx is now at CodePlex!

The SednaX project has been renamed VFPX and moved to CodePlex. It is looking very good with a clean and easy to navigate interface.

Kudos to everybody responsible for a great community project!

(Via Andrew McNeill)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Article on Scoble in Argentina's leading newspaper

By chance I was looking at the website for Clarin, the leading newspaper in Argentina when to my surprise I saw an ad for a featured article about Scoble's departure from Microsoft including the picture shown here. (this is the original I took in 2004).

I sent an email to the writer of the article asking WTF. She answered within the hour apologizing and explaining that due to a short deadline they "neglected" to credit the photo. They immediately proceeded to add a credit at the end of the article (which has another photo of Scoble)

Interesting isn't it?

[Update 2006-09-18] I since posted the picture to Scoble's page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back from a funeral

I have been out of computer range for the last few days. As soon as I returned from Boston's Tech-Ed 2006 we had to fly to Chicago for my mother-in-law's funeral. It was not a big surprise as she was not in the best of health and mercily she went fast and without undue pain.

Back in Miami, now starting to dig through the piles of email, blogs to read and whatever mess I'll find tomorrow as first day at work.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Argentina gives a classy lesson!

Argentina gave a master lesson on how to play beautiful football (soccer) today by easily winning 6-0 over Serbia-Montenegro in World Cup Germany 2006.

With excellent play it demonstrated it is a strong contender for the Cup and a team opponets should fear.

The fans rejoiced all the way from Germany to Argentina. What a beautiful sight!

Community has voted. SednaX will be renamed VFPX!

The vote is in. On the user poll to give the Visual FoxPro next version community project a name (Code name: SednaX), the community has voted for VFPX with VFP.Next coming a close second. Long live the Fox!

Welcome Dave Crozier and VFP Organizer!

Welcome Dave Crozier. What a greater way to start blogging than to show a great looking demo of Fox Organizer (Beta 1). I do use dbi Technologies controls but this one looks like a nice alternative.

(Via Andrew McNeill)

Don't Just Plug Random Crap Into Your Computer

From Techdirt:

There's been a lot of talk about how iPods and other portable devices pose a security risk to companies, as employees may store important company documents of them. Now there's fear that such devices could upload malware and infect corporate systems. A team of security specialists recently demonstrated exactly how such an attack might work. First they collected a bunch of cheap USB drives, the type a company might give out for free as a promotion. After loading malware onto them, they simply scattered a bunch of them around the parking lot of a bank at 6:00 AM, when nobody was watching. As the employees got to work, they found the drives just sitting there, and one by one plugged them into their computers as they day went on. What's funny is that the employees knew there was going to be a security test happening, and yet they still didn't find it suspicious that several USB drives just happened to be in the parking lot when they got to work. It's unfortunate, but it seems that the typical office employee just doesn't understand or care about security. Recall the studies suggesting how easy it is to get employees to give up their passwords in exchange for a cheap gift. While that lesson may seem obvious, just wait for the fearmongering about USB drives, totally missing the point.

Enough said. It is human nature and actually very difficult to overcome. Users (employees) require constant security awareness training. I've seen it in action. Users keep picking easy to guess passwords and give them away with ease. They'll plug in anything and install software or open any cute card they receive by email. A never ending battle.

Microsoft introduces Forefront

I saw one interesting new program announced at Tech-Ed keynote. Microsoft Forefront Client Security (now in early beta) is a unified solution to problems with malware for business PCs. It allows for centralized administration. It provides a single agent against spyware, rootkits, viruses and worms with real-time detection.

It works very well when combined with Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) and Exchange servers. It supports Windows 2000, WinXP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista.

Administration is powerful yet simple, allowing SysAdmins to define one policy that configures anti-spyware and anti-virus for a host of computers allowing for alert level settings specifying the type and volume of alerts generated. Policies can be deployed via Active Directory.

It also has a good set of reports examine real-time data and trends, warnings and detection of potential vulnerabilities.

I will be checking this tool out in more depth as it seems a good solution for business use.

More morons in Congress

Take a look at Congressman Lynn Westmoreland's website and you see the Georgia Congressman is a God-fearing Republican. He proposes over and over to display the 10 Commandments in public buildings, from the Courthouse to Congress.

Then watch his interview with Stephen Colbert in Crooks and Liars.

Colbert: What are the Ten Commandments?
Westmoreland: You mean all of them?--Um... Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't steal Um... I can't name them all.
The guy is a Bible-thumper that wants to push the 10-Commandments and can't even name them?

After watching the video, the guy seems a little retarded. I wonder why would anybody elect a moron like this one to Congress?

(Via J-Walk)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Adventures at Tech-Ed

The conference is going well, albeit with a few minor problems, such as a bus strike, which luckily has not affected me or anybody much as they brought more drivers from out of state, plus a minor fire I read about as I did not see it. There is more police presence everywere as there are about 12,000 attendees in town for this event.

The conference is going well. It is a major feat of logistics to be able to move, teach and feed this many people. Kudos to Microsoft and all the organizers.

One very nice touch was the placement of widescreen flat-TVs along many walls of the Convention Center tuned to ESPN2 and showing the World Cup games live. They even provided chairs so there are lots of fans congregating in front of the TVs for every game. Makes the event very lively as you can be almost guaranteed to have fans of almost every team in attendance. Even if you are not watching the games, the shout for every GOAAL!! (and miss) is heard across the center! Well done!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

31 Port USB Hub, Why Not?

A little overkill but Gizmodo has a funny setup for the DIY crowd.

This unique mod combines nine USB hubs for an ultra, uber USB hub ready for global domination. Unfortunately, there aren’t specific instructions about how to do the technical wiring, but I’m sure the smarties that read us would be able to figure out how to pull this 31 port USB hub off. Mods like this hit my curious bone, so after the jump, let us know how many USB ports you are using at any given time. I think I am sitting around six or seven, but there have to be others out there that can top my weak machine.


Tripod Belt

This Tripod Belt lets pro and amateur photographers alike keep their tripods close while freeing their hands for the quick action shot. The belt fits over the shoulder or wild-west-six-shooter style. Available now for $8.50

Certainly beats my normal carrying bag.

Boston FoxPro user Group meeting

While in Boston attending Tech-Ed 2006 I had the pleasure of attending the local Visual FoxPro group meeting.

Local Fox Developer Dmitry Litvak picked me up and we went to get Andrew Coats [MS] for an early dinner.

Andrew is a long time Fox Developer who now works for Microsoft as a Developer Evangelist in Sydney, Australia.

As an aside, earlier in the day at lunch time at the Tech-Ed conference, I sat at a table with a couple of Microsoft guys I did not know. They were talking showing their Australian accent. One of them saw the VFP polo I was wearing and commented that I'm the second one he saw that day as Andrew Coates was walking around wearing the exact same VFP 9.0 shirt. I had not seen Andrew yet and I mentioned I was meeting him the same night.

"Oh? At the VFP meeting?"
"Right" I said.

Turns out he knew about it as he works with Andrew at Microsoft Australia. Then he proceeds to tell his friend how Andrew always talks about FoxPro and points out to them when he sees a Fox app on the web.

He then mentioned how he went to a Fox meeting and noticed that "all the people were older, just like a geriatric place, all around 50", he joked. Funny guy. Yeah, like root canal. He was in his twenties and I happen to be 50 myself.

Back to the meeting which took place at the local Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA a suburb of Boston.

The attendance was about 20 people as the organizer joined the VFP and .NET developers in one meeting. Andrew talked mainly about SQL Server Express 2005 (SSE) comparing it to SQL Server (it's basically same but free an self contained) and to MSDE which it replaced.

He did the presentation in a laptop running the current Beta of Windows Vista which pleased the audience as they got a chance to see some of it in action.

As most of the attendees were FoxPro developers, Andrew used Visual FoxPro 9.0 as a front-end showing how to upsize data, then a couple of simple examples of accessing data through remote views.

He fired up Visual Studio 2005 and showed examples of ASP.NET accessing two different data sources, an SSE database (NorthWind that was previously uploaded from VFP) and data from a full SQL Server instance.

The controls on the form were bound through an object, showing the proper way to create 3-Tier architecture, as opposed to the cheesy run-of-the mill samples you see at most presentations were the speaker binds data directly from the UI to the underlying database, therefore creating older 2-Tier designs. To show how you can bind to any object that implements an IEnumerable return he also demonstrated a sample of binding to an XSD data schema of one of the SQL Server tables.

At the end he expertly answered all questions from the lively audience.

Kudos to Andrew for teaching the correct way to create Data Access Layers and proper design and for a great presentation.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Off to Tech-Ed 2006!

Tech-Ed 2006 logoI'm off to Boston today for Tech-Ed 2006. It will be my first time at this big conference and I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it. Yeah, it is in the middle of World Cup so I'll have to sneak a game or two here and there. Poor planning I guess.

If you see me there come say hi!

Friday, June 09, 2006

SednaX is being renamed and moved too!

It has been noted elsewhere earlier in the week so this is not breaking news by now, but just in case you missed it, SednaX the Community Project for the next version of Visual FoxPro is moving to a new home at CodePlex.

This has also been noted outside of the VFP community by

MS info on Win98/Win ME end of support

Microsoft reminds us that it is ending support for Windows 98, Windows (8 SE and Windows Miserable Edition (a.k.a. ME) on July 11, 2006. This means Microsoft will end public and technical support on July 11, 2006. This also includes security updates.

Regarding security:

Today we’ve made an update to the FAQ in MS06-015
related to the availability of an update for Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft
Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (ME).

Specifically, after extensive investigation, we’ve found that it’s not
feasible to make the extensive changes necessary to Windows Explorer on these
older versions of Windows to eliminate the vulnerability.

This is because during the development of Windows 2000, we made
significant enhancements to the underlying architecture of Windows Explorer. The
Windows Explorer architecture on these older versions of Windows is much less
robust than the more recent Windows architectures.

They go on to give a security recommendation:

We do strongly recommend that customers still using Microsoft Windows 98,
Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Microsoft Windows Millennium
Edition (ME) protect those systems by placing them behind a perimeter firewall
which filters traffic on TCP Port 139 which will block attacks attempting to
exploit this vulnerability. This is discussed in the "Workarounds" section of
the vulnerability.

And, of course, with the upcoming end up support for these products, we
strongly recommend that those of you who are still running these older versions
of Windows upgrade to a newer, more secure version, such as Windows XP SP2, as
soon as possible.

My recommendation, if you are still running Windows Miserable Edition, especially in a business environment (you know who you are, I've seen some of you), throw that crap out and replace it with, at least, Windows XP SP2 already!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Welcoming another FoxPro blogger!

A warm welcome to Steve Ellenoff, another Visual FoxPro blogger! It's great to have more people write about his or her experiences with this great OOP database development tool!

(Via Ted)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blond stereotype

blonde photographer

A typical blonde photographer? Or just a misguided amateur?

(Via Bits & Pieces)

Vote for SednaX's real name!

The folks at SednaX, a community project for the next version of Visual FoxPro, are asking people what the SednaX (code-name) should be really named. Andrew McNeill has made a poll.

Latest Sedna CTP available online

YAG announces the latest Sedna CTP (June 2006) has just been posted online for your free download. Way to go!

Colbert's Knox College commencement speech

ColbertStephen Colbert gave the 2006 Knox's College Commencement Speech. It was very funny:

"And when you enter the workforce, you will find competition from those crossing our all-too-porous borders. Now I know you're all going to say, "Stephen, Stephen, immigrants built America." Yes, but here's the thing--it's built now. I think it was finished in the mid-70s sometime. At this point it's a touch-up and repair job. But thankfully Congress is acting and soon English will be the official language of America. Because if we surrender the national anthem to Spanish, the next thing you know, they'll be translating the Bible. God wrote it in English for a reason! So it could be taught in our public schools.

So we must build walls. A wall obviously across the entire southern border. That's the answer. That may not be enough--maybe a moat in front of it, or a fire-pit. Maybe a flaming moat, filled with fire-proof crocodiles. And we should probably wall off the northern border as well. Keep those Canadians with their socialized medicine and their skunky beer out. And because immigrants can swim, we'll probably want to wall off the coasts as well. And while we're at it, we need to put up a dome, in case they have catapults. And we'll punch some holes in it so we can breathe. Breathe free. It's time for illegal immigrants to go--right after they finish building those walls. Yes, yes, I agree with me."
Link (Via Boing-Boing)

Your Government at work!

Opa-Locka temporary tower
For years the county authorities and the FAA could not come to a workable agreement on the replacing the control tower at Opa-Locka airport (KOPF). This is the major general aviation airport and second biggest in Miami-Dade County after Miami International (KMIA).

The solution for the three years the construction of a new tower will take (the old one is crumbling), after they resolve their disputes? Make it a trailer tower!

The FAA owns a fleet of specially-made trailers to act as temporary towers in cases of emergency. In this case, just weld two containers, one on top of the other, and then slap a trailer-tower on top! Brilliant! For three fricking years! Actually it will be less than that. Only until the first hurricane comes through and the tower is found floating near the Bahamas.

Miami-Dade County officials are not amused:

'I guess you can call it a piece of modern art,' said Charles Danger, Miami-Dade County's top building official. 'This is not a structure that meets any code whatsoever.'
Folks, you can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ash Plume from Cleveland Volcano

Aleutian Volcano from space
An astronaut aboard the ISS saw the Cleveland volcano erupting (in the Aleutian Islands) and took this picture from orbit. Wow!

More at Earth Observatory.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Visual Foxpro goes up another notch at TIOBE

Visual FoxPro now sits in position 12 on the TIOBE Index (TIOBE Programming Community Index June 2006) and enjoys an "A" rating for the first time ever!

It also continues to hold as the fastest climbing language in the index over the past year. A distinction it has enjoyed for several months now.

(Via SPS)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Miami Beach Flyover: All Hell is Breaking Loose

Gov. Jeb Bush 1 - Miami Beach Residents 0

This is the flyover in 63rd St. and Collins Ave., Miami Beach. It is one of the very few access points to the city (Miami Beach is basically an island).

The flyover was built in 1954 and still carries thousands of cars a day. I use it myself every single day of the week. Sure it is ugly, and a little too low for some of today's 18-wheelers, many of which get stuck every so often because the truckers do not know how to read the signs indicating the max height under the bridge. So it is scarred aplenty underneath but is structurally sound.

Even though the 90% of the citizens of Miami Beach voted to save the flyover, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Governor Bush think otherwise.

Starting June 1st it will be demolished and work will start on that intersection to last an estimated 18 months!

If you have ever been in Miami Beach, you might have an idea of the traffic nightmare this will create. Of course the powers that be decide to do this right on the day of the start of hurricane season. Traffic jams will be legendary and will last untill the end of 2007. Hurricane evacuation or any quick access by fire or emergency personnel will be a nightmare.

Your taxes at work.

Sun Post: Flyover Riot.
ABS Local News video coverage.
City News: Miami Beach 63rd Street Fly-over Removal Getting Near Zero Hour, All Hell is Breaking Loose.
Miami Herald letters: Flyover demolition will be nightmare.

Rob Gonsalvez: Magic Realism

Rob Gonsalvez is a Canadian artist whose artwork features seamless, surrealistic transformation of objects aptly dubbed "Magic Realism". Rob’s influences include Dali, Magritte, and M.C. Escher.

This one is called "The Sun Sets Sail".

More paintings here, here and here

(Via Neatorama)

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Here in the North there is no such thing as monkeys."

I know many Canadians. None of them are stupid. Now I find proof that there are some idiots in the frozen North too.

According to an article from Yahoo Canada when a biology teacher wanted to add more to the meager introduction to evolution in his class was told not to out of "respect for the local Inuit community's culture". What does that have to do with not giving kids the knowledge in science they need to be productive Canadian citizens?

"Students in the northern Quebec town of Salluit should have an open mind and think for themselves, but not teaching them Darwin's Theory of Evolution is an issue of respect, says the region's school board."

The community's school committee told CBC:

"If the town complains and says no, the committee can ask the principal or the director of teachers to approach the teacher and say, 'Look, this is not the subject to be taught here in this town, or in this place, because we know we have been humans from the beginning, '" said Molly Tayara.

"I don't personally accept my children being taught that they came from some species from Africa somewhere.

"Here in the North there is no such thing as monkeys."
(Via Pharyngula)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Creation Evidence - Museum Tour video

If this doesn't convince you...

Ok. Comedy Central did it but the guy believes it is real. Flinstones and all.

Link (Via J-Walk)

Aha! I was right! Chocolate is good for you!

I was right! As a chocoholic person that appreciates chocolate I can always say I told you so! (snicker)

From CNN: Study: Chocolate may boost brain power.

Chocolate lovers rejoice. A new study hints that eating milk chocolate may boost brain function.

"These substances by themselves have previously been found to increase alertness and attention and what we have found is that by consuming chocolate you can get the stimulating effects, which then lead to increased mental performance."

Now excuse me I have to to go get some more!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Local User Non Support Hall of Shame

Continuing with my previous post on User Access Controls, there is the Local Admin/Power User Non support of Patching Hall of Shame page maintained by Susan Bradley [MVP].

You will find there a list of shameful companies and the bad security practices that we put up with from our Vendors.

Why is it that I have to login as Local Admin to install Norton Antivirus, install local printers in XP Home, or run certain games? See the full list at her site. You can submit nominations too!


Microsoft... Eat your own UAC dogfood already!

Great post by Dana about User Access Control (UAC) in the upcoming Vista. There is much talk about Microsoft installing advanced Betas of Vista in their employees machines.

See article in ZDNET: "Microsoft considers taking admin rights from employees"

Of course not having admin rights for everything will disrupt some operations. But that is one of the points. Every employee should run with Least Privilege. If software does not properly run or install with this security setting then there is something wrong with the software.

It is sometimes a PITA with the current state of software offerings in the market, but I run my laptop as a standard user and only switch to the Admin account when there is a specific need to do administration. Admin users should not run day-to-day operations as Admins!