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I spent most of the day flipping channels catching parts of the Indianapolis 500. Personally, I am not a huge car racing fan but I watch the Indy 500 because of the tradition in it and usually some very cool things occur during it. Today was a little disappointing though; The race was delayed because of rain, then they dried the track and there were 4-5 wrecks right in a row, including one that occurred on pit row. Then the rains came back and the race was shortened to 180 laps (instead of the normal 200).

Since most of the race was under yellow it was pretty boring, but they had a little memory lane segment where they showed some famous moments from the 500’s past.

In other news, it looks like Sony has come out with a Powerbook killer. Who knows how well it will do, but I am looking forward to their 1.7 lb ultra-portable notebook. If I get I a laptop I definitely want something that I can take pretty much anywhere. It does not have to be a desktop replacement, just something that allows me to get my work done on the go.

Yesterday the dedication of the national World War II Memorial took place and I watched all of it (yes, all 2.5 hrs). There were some very good things said and Bob Dole commented on a very sad fact; One in every four WWII veterans has since passed away. What makes it worse is the fact that the school children of today see the war as ancient and the people who fought in it too old…

This memorial took 60 yrs. to get up. 60!! The Vietnam vet memorial was up in 10 yrs. but 60?! And people are openly criticizing the memorial, which, to me is just flat out wrong. Criticize on your own time but let the veterans remember and get closure, don’t stand around talking about how you would have changed the look of the place because it isn’t necessary.

I was watching a special yesterday on Flight 191 which crashed 23 yrs. ago. The special was based around the horrible maintenance that American Airlines devoted to their DC-10 fleet. Their poor habits in maintaining their aircraft killed 270 people and basically put McDonnell-Douglas out of business (they were bought out by Boeing).

The whole cause of the crash centered around a pylon that held the engine to the wing of the aircraft. When the pylon snapped (due to poor maintenance) it severed the main hydrualics line that supplied hydraulic fluid to the wing. This caused the wing to dip and the plane to stall, the plane rolled over and nosed into the ground.

After the accident McDonnell-Douglas released a statement that they had never anticipated a complete loss of hydraulics in one wing because the chances of something like that happening were slim. Well, they weren’t slim enough.

I think any idustry where there could be a mess up can relate to this crash. The remote possibility of something going wrong should cause some alarm and a jump to fix it. Had American Airlines stepped up to the plate and taken better care of its fleet this probably would not have been an issue. If the engineers at McDonnell-Douglas would have taken the time to produce more possibilities for errors, then this may not have been an issue. But, some of the problem layed in the way the FAA put out its plane requirements. There was no “stick-shaker” on the copilots side of the aircraft. The “stick-shaker” warns of a stall and had this been installed, the copilot (who was flying the plane due to power loss on the pilot side) would have known they were going into a stall and tried to save the aircraft.

Little things make all the difference.

Dunstan Orchard went through the code he uses to produce the layout that he uses. It is a fairly interesting way of taking content in plain HTML form from a database and making it into a good looking site.

His code has given me some ideas for a project that we are about to start here at work. I think that I can implement his idea into the project to make for cleaner output and easier manipulation, we’ll see how that goes though.

I must also say that Dunstan’s method of displaying the header is quite interesting. He has ninety versions of the header illustration, ninety!!

I just read an interesting article on the future of hospital technology and if we will ever get to the point where the paper use is done away with. The author of the article came to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to completely get rid of paper in hospitals because of the need of so many people to have certain information. An example is that you cannot give every nurse a handheld computer because the costs would just sky rocket.

There is a company in Austin that is focusing on developing technology just for medical use. They specialize in software and hardware that enables doctors to move from patient to patient with all of the patient’s info stored at a central database accessible through Bluetooth or some other wireless technology with a handheld device. Their products still somewhat hinge on paper though as all of the non-doctor staff uses paper to checkin on patients and perform routine visits.

It will be very interesting to see where medical computer use goes from here.

Well, a friend is going home for a week or so and asked me to watch her parakeet. Of course, I said yes. It’s not hard to keep up with it, just have to give it some food and water. I have been trying to teach it to whistle different songs but I don’t know how well that’s going. At night the bird is fairly quiet and in the morning it’s the same but when I come home from work the thing goes nuts and can’t stop whistlin’ and singing up a storm!

I am working on an archive system for posts that I make here, it’s going pretty well. I am basically making the archives dynamic (using mod_rewrite to make them look like directories). I thought about going the static way but I really do not want to get into the whole re-building/Movable Type ordeal. So, the archives should be up by the end of the week, hopefully with a database restructure, depending on how in depth I feel like getting.

There is a great article in this month’s issue of Wired magazine about Pixar and their rise to success and what the future holds for them. It is a really intersting look into how the company works and what works for them. Since they are led by Steve Jobs they have somewhat of a creative force behind them.

In other news, I went to Wal-Mart with a friend last night (this morning) so that she could pickup the Avril Lavigne cd. We listened to most of it and I have to say that my hat is off to her. There are a few reasons why I like her…

  1. She writes her own music…
  2. A big plus in my book, it takes a lot of talent to be able to write your own music.

  3. Her music actually means something.
  4. She is not the average teenage girl rocker, she writes good lyrics that have a meaning and aren’t just for her to show off on MTV (*cough*Britney Spears*cough*).

  5. She does not lipsync.
  6. When she sings on TV or in concert it’s really her voice, which means, when you buy her CD and you listen to it, she’s gonna sound the same when you see her live.

Anyway, that’s my $.02 on that.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Simpson’s season finale, it was a good episode, not great but good. But now that it’s over there will be no new episodes to watch for the summer, just reruns.

In other news it looks like a draft may be on the horizon. According to Congress.org the legislation could be effective as early as June 2005. So what does this mean? Well, it states that the draft would no longer be avoidable by those going to Canada or those in college. This whole thing is kind of scary because it means that those who are drafted did not have a voice in whether they went to fight or not. It would also have serious reprecussions on the American people supporting such an action. If this whole deal goes through I smell another Vietnam, which I think no American citizen is wanting a repeat of. You can keep this from being reinstated by contacting your representatives.

After about 2 hrs. of searching yesterday, my co-worker and I finally figured out why foreign characters were being thrown into our CSV. We did not even think about the CSV being exported from a Mac, but that turned out to be the problem. We exported it in Windows format and everything worked like a charm.

My internet connection at home is still somewhat messed up. I am having problems downloading files from just about anywhere. I tried getting some music from iTunes and it continually times out. If you are going to run a successful network don’t you think that it would be a good idea to secure it and keep things like network flooding from happening? To me that just seems like good business sense. I mean, I am trying to download a 211kb .zip file right now and I am getting 4k/s! This download should have been so quick that I didn’t even notice it. It is sad that nowadays you cannot get what you pay for.