A week of change

It's been a week of change. Last day at the old job, first days at the new. Things have been busy and I've been offline most of the time. Things should start stabalizing soon...

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Catching up on my reading

Catching up on some of my favorite blogs, Kevin Walzer has a post, Free and cracked [Macintosh] software that is well worth reading.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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The WSJ case for switching to Macintosh

I let my WSJ subscription lapse a couple of years back after almost a decade. I'm reminded of the kind of articles I miss when Small Biz Mac reports on a Walter S. Moosberg article on switching from Windows to OS X.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Tomorrow I could be buying a Mac

Tomorrow I'll have my final paycheck from Deseret Book, including the pay out for all my unused vacation & special sick leave. Though it'll be taxed as though it were a bonus, I rarely used much time off during six years, so I'm excpecting a tidy little sum.

One of the first things I have to do is buy a new Apple laptop. My new job has provided me with a Dell laptop. The first night I brought it home, Meghan exclaimed with disdain and disgust: "they make you use a Dell?!". (I felt like such a proud father! ;-)

While admittedly the stability of Windows has improved in the last six or seven years since I last had the misfortune of using it as my primary OS, but I still have to reboot far too often and put up with other unexplained annoyances. With a Macintosh computing (for me) is a relaxing pleasure. The Aqua interface is beautiful. The product (even down to the packaging) shows real craftsmanship and attention to usability. And it's got the full power of *nix under the hood (yeah!). Running Fisher Price Windows XP I feel physical tension and stress. I need to get back to the zen of OS X ASAP.

Now that my own money is on the line, I'm somewhat torn between being budget concious and getting a 14" iBook or splurging and getting a 15" (or 17"!) PowerBook.

Whichever I buy, I plan on purchasing it from MacDocs, a local Salt Lake shop, because of their philosophy:

Why we do this is simple. At the core our group believes in the product. We feel the Macintosh platform is the pinnacle of personal computing that all other platforms aspire to be.

That really resonates with me.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Splurging on books

I didn't get off work in time to make it over to MacDocs to buy a Macintosh laptop... so I splurged on some books instead (for the first time in months :-).

Here's what I got (in alphabetical order):

  1. 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
  2. Art of Prolog, The: Advanced Programming Techniques (2nd Ed.)
  3. Concepts, Techniques, and Methods of Computer Programming
  4. Games and Decisions: Introduction and Crtical Survey
  5. Haskell School of Expression, The: Learning Functional Programming through Multimedia
  6. Head First EJB
  7. Head First Servlets & JSP
  8. How to Design Programs: An Introduction to Programming and Computing
  9. Little Schemer, The (4th Ed.)
  10. Mastering BEA WebLogic Server: Best Pracitces for Building and Deploying J2EE Applications
  11. Programming Ruby
  12. Purely Functional Data Structures
  13. Seasoned Schemer, The
  14. WebLogic: The Definitive Guide

I figure all these books (many which are perennially recommended at Lambda the Ultimate) should keep me busy through at least the end of the summer... or maybe even Christmas.

I also ordered one DVD: I Love Lucy — The Complete Third Season.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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My new laptop

I bought a new 15" PowerBook on Wednesday. I got a good deal on a 1.33 GHz model, now that the 1.5 GHz are out. It's the same speed I had before, which seemed adequate enough. Plus, I figured more RAM would be more useful than an extra 0.167 GHz.

I'm busy compiling Fink packages this evening.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Dreaming of dream houses

This description of a dream house sounds like something my sister Becca could have dreamt up.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Training in Austin, TX

I'm in Austin, TX this week for Vignette training. I've been to Houston (too humid) and San Antonio before (plus made connections at Dallas/Ft. Worth), but this is my first visit to Austin. (Texas joins South Dakota and Arizona as other states I could see myself living in, were I to move.)

The hotel I'm staying at puports to have high speed internet access, but it's certainly not in-room access. At least not in the room I'm in—403. (Maybe that's because the 403 HTTP response code means "Forbidden/Access Denied"?)

I didn't ask about it last night because I had Angels & Demons to finish reading (I picked it up in an airport bookshop on the way down here). I enjoyed it even more than The Da Vinci Code.

There is an Apple Store here, just a couple minutes from where I'm staying. I'm going to pay them a visit this evening! If anyone reading this along the Wasatch Front needs me to pick them up anything, just leave a comment. I'm here through Friday afternoon.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Jury duty in Yellowstone and the proverbial "perfect crime"?

Much to my personal civic disappointment, I've never been called up for jury duty. I get a little jealous when friends get to serve. With my luck someday when I actually have a chance I'll probably be excused.

How does jury duty relate to possibly commiting the "perfect crime" in Yellowstone National Park? The sixth ammendment to the Constitution of the United States reads (emphasis added):

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

The emphasized portion is known as the vicinage clause. (Websters defines vicinage means "the place or places adjoining or near; neighborhood; vicinity; as, a jury must be of the vicinage.")

The Volokh Conspiracy had a post Saturday about a fun, entertaining, clever, and short law review article entitled The Perfect Crime. I agree that it is fun, entertaining, clever, and short and suggest you take a few minutes to read it.

The gist for those who don't want to download the PDF is that since the constitution requires an impartial jury be drawn from the district and state, and because all of Yellowstone National Park is in the District of Wyoming, but since the park population within the Idaho-portion of the park is zero, it would be impossible to constitutionally empanel a jury to hear the case.

While there are hundreds of thousands of people who live within the boundaries of the District of Wyoming, and there are millions in Idaho, there isn't anybody presently who is in both groups, let alone twelve.

For my programming oriented readers this means that:

SELECT citizen FROM idaho_residents
INTERSECT
SELECT citizen FROM district_of_wy;

wouldn't return any rows.

One potential solution is for the government to encourage people to move into the Idaho portion of Yellowstone National Park. There are apparently already a few hundred people who actually live within the Montana portion of Yellowstone...

If I could telecommute and live within Yellowstone, I'd have to add Idaho to my list of states I'd enjoy living in. Plus, it would dramatically increase my chances of eventually serving on a jury. :-)

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Longing for a free metric salad lunch...

The cafeteria at work has a fairly decent salad bar. The cost is $0.28 per ounce. When you pay for it, they weigh it on a scale that registers the weight in pounds, to three decimal points.

So what's the point? Well, I like salads. And, more importantly, if you can guess the price of your salad—to the penny—then it's free. You are allowed to see the weight (in pounds) and know the price (per ounce) and are even given a moment to do some mental calculations (though I suspect calculators would be prohibited).

I suspect what makes it difficult for most people, even knowing the price and the weight, is remembering that there are sixteen ounces in a pound, and calculating accordingly. It would be a lot simpler if the pricing and the scale were in metric units.

But we can probably compensate just by calculating what 1/10th of a pound of salad costs, and practicing multiplying by that unit.

$0.28 per oz, with 16 ozs. per lb. means a salad costs $0.28 x 16 = $4.48. Each tenth of a pound costs $0.448 (hundredth is $0.0448 and thousandeth is $0.00448).

Weight   Price Weight   Price
0.10 lbs.=$0.448 0.55 lbs.=$2.464
0.15 lbs.=$0.672 0.60 lbs.=$2.688
0.20 lbs.=$0.896 0.65 lbs.=$2.912
0.25 lbs.=$1.120 0.70 lbs.=$3.136
0.30 lbs.=$1.344 0.75 lbs.=$3.360
0.35 lbs.=$1.568 0.80 lbs.=$3.584
0.40 lbs.=$1.792 0.85 lbs.=$3.808
0.45 lbs.=$2.016 0.90 lbs.=$4.032
0.50 lbs.=$2.240 0.95 lbs.=$4.256

I've personally only ever seen their scale register a zero or a five in the third decimal place. If it's a zero, nothing needs to be added to the overall price. If it's a five, then $0.022 needs to be added to the total.

I've included beyond two decimal places on the dollar amounts above because if you round prematurely you might end up being off by a penny—and if that happens, the lunch won't be free...

— Michael A. Cleverly

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