Monday, July 13, 2015

Describing unique experiences

Last update: Monday 7/13/15
From time to time when I go to the Starbucks at the Barnes & Nobel in Rockville, MD, I see a young Vietnamese artist seated at the table in the center of the room doing his thing. I can't describe it. And I get a kick out of watching other people stop dead in their tracks, staring, as their minds boggle, searching for words to describe what they are seeing, hypnotized as he extends whatever he already has on the sketchpad using ball point pens in real time. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blacker than thou ... again and again

Last update: Friday 4/24/15
When I joined the faculty of Howard University in Washington, DC way back in the 1972 Fall semester, I was not just coming to Howard; I was also fleeing from Harvard. I was in flight because I knew that if I stayed in Cambridge for another year, I might have some kind of a breakdown.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Obama writes one line of Javascript code and ... ???

You probably read yesterday's news that global warming stopped increasing, that the Arabs and Israelis finally came to a two state solution, and that Ebola stopped spreading in West Africa. All of these near-miraculous events happened because of President Obama's Mighty Line of Code. I hope you don't think that I have become a cynical curmudgeon, but I can't help wondering how much more good he could have done if he had stayed at his computer long enough to write two lines ... or ... dare I say it, three lines?????

On the other hand, I also wonder how many kiddies will turn to their tutors, ten minutes into their "Hour of Code", and say, "That's it. I'm outta here. If one line was good enough for the president ... but, hey, that was great fun. Let's do this again next year in the next Computer Science Education Week." 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Failure to Indict in Ferguson

Last update: 11/27/14 @ 3:23 am
Like most black Americans, I went to bed last night enraged by the failure of the grand jury in Ferguson, MO, to indict Darren Wilson, the 6' 4" 210 pound police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 6' 4" 290 pound black teenager last summer. I was especially troubled by reports that officer Wilson had fired twelve shots, hitting the unarmed 18 year-old six times. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hello world!!! -- an old programmer's joke ... or a joke on an old programmer???

Last update: Friday 10/31/14 @ 10:39 am

I had an interesting day at "pre work" yesterday. Having been forcibly "retired" before my time back in January, I am retooling myself for re-entry into the job market. As part of my preparations, I wrote my first Java app for my cell phone yesterday, using the Eclipse IDE and the Android Plugin. It was a family variation on the traditional "Hello world." My app not only said "Hello world" it also said hello to my two daughters, to my two granddaughters, and to our three dogs.

I showed my younger daughter my cellphone as we were walking down a busy street in Bethesda, MD yesterday afternoon. I clicked the icon and the greeting was displayed. She looked at it for for a couple of moments without saying anything ... then, not being a programmer, she finally asked, "So what does your app do?" ... whereupon I pointed to the phone and proudly replied, "That's what it does!!!" ... and she damned near fell off the curb because she was laughing so hard ... :-)