Saturday, June 16, 2012

What the Problem is....

Someone who I would consider a mediocre friend sent this to me.  He knew I would enjoy it from both a technological and political perspective.  I hope you find it humorous and worth the read.  I don't know the origin of this story but I have updated a few parts of it.

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his iPhone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his iPad that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his BlackBerry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.  Now give me back my dog."

And that folks is what the problem is all about.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus

Today the Transit of Venus occurred, an event when Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun and appears as a black dot on the surface of the sun.

The history of the transit and those who first discovered it in the 1700's is fascinating but for me this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see something way cool for a space geek. What makes this so cool? Simple, it won't happen again until 2117. That means my grandchildren will be playing with my great grandchildren by the time this happens again.

The other cool thing about this is it was easy to see both with the naked eye and with a telescope. I got a telescope for Christmas when I was in elementary school and tonight it came in handy. The hard part was finding a place to view the transit from as we live in an area with a lot of trees.

Fortunately, I was able to abuse my key where I work and gain access to the roof over the pool at our Community Center. From there I setup my telescope and my homemade iPhone mount for the telescope lens and dialed it in.

The pictures I took are available here. Enjoy – as these will have to hold you until 2117.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On this Day in 1997…

It was on June 1, 1997 that I first met my first wife.  It was pouring down rain and when I first saw her, she was wearing a stripped polo shirt with overalls.  Apparently in the late 90’s overalls were all the rage but don’t feel bad, I missed that fad too.  All I knew was that chick was hot.

We met at a Christian youth camp we both worked at that summer.  My job was to hire the summer staff and so that spring I started reviewing applications.  For whatever reason the camp’s application form required applicants to submit a picture with their application, and when I opened Heather’s I fell in love.  Not only was she the perfect applicant but she was also drop dead gorgeous.  I told the staff she was hired and it was their job to help her fall madly in love with me.  For my part it was love at first sight, first site of the picture she had submitted.

For Heather’s part, she had just finished her freshman year of college and was looking to get away from home and a small camp in the middle of nowhere Indiana seemed like the best place to do it.  When she first saw me, the word “geek” flashed through her mind and the words “I’m not leaving my daughter here” flashed through my future mother in laws mind.

My heart a twitter (that meant something different back then) I set my plan in action.  I abused my authority and told folks if they wanted paid they needed to convince Heather what a great guy I was.  I event sent out reconnaissance to learn everything about her and then my master plan hit a snag.  She had a boyfriend.  Now I not only had to convince her I was awesome but that I was better than the guy she was already dating.  Thanks to some wonderful friends, the snow job of the last century began.  After a while I’m sure Heather figured out something was going on but she continued to play along nicely as my minions worked the plan.

Further intelligence revealed the boyfriend was more of a childhood friend.  They had grown up together, their families were close, so they hung out a lot, but they were not a serious couple.  Perfect.  Now it was time to make my move. 

With all the pieces in place, I knew it was time to see if the snow job had worked (and if I should pay the staff).  17 days after we met, I asked her out on a date.  To my surprise, and probably everyone else’s, she said “Yes.”  Mission accomplished.  Now everyone else was off the hook but I had to deliver on whatever truths I’m sure they told her about me.

We got to know each other pretty well that summer before she returned to college.  We both returned to the same camp the following year and on July 18, 1998 I proposed and again to everyone’s surprise she said, “Yes.”  The rest, as they say, is history.

As for that picture I first fell in love with, I stole it from her application file and put it in my wallet, where it still is today.  Ask me to see it sometime.