Texas Legislature

I love the state legislature. What a bunch of talking heads. What a cushy job. A bunch of junk flew through on the last day of regular session (June 1, 2009) and they all feel good about themselves for doing what’s right. They closed sine die and now everyone gets to sit back and watch Texas go up in smoke; perfect metaphor of the heat this summer.

Congrats first-time home buyer, now pay up

It was bound to happen. One of the ripple effects of a recession coupled with higher minimum wages are tax hikes. Even though $0.13 isn’t terrible, we will feel it come January 2010 and beyond. Source: http://www.theeagle.com/schools/Bryan-trustees-grapple-with–2-4-million-shortfall

The gotcha here is that property taxes were reduced by the State in their last session (2007) with the promise that they wouldn’t touch them.  (See the cigarrette tax increase of $1 per pack versus raising property taxes to pay for CHIPS and education.) Well, they didn’t touch them that session, but this next session (82nd Legislature) is a different story and anything could happen. I think Texans are in for a big shock when the 82nd Legislature convenes.

Default Firefox Font Settings

I needed these because there is no reset to default on the options. If you play with them for web site development – I highly recommend it – then you’ll want to reset them at some point.

Proportional: Serif / Size: 16
Serif: Times New Roman
Sans-Serif: Arial
Monospace: Courier New / Size: 13
Minimum font size: None
Allow pages to choose…. Checked

Before and After

2009_05200008 About four months ago – after the stimulus check arrived – I began thinking about remodeling and improving things around the “new” house. When we bought the house we knew there were some problem spots.

The house is 25 years old and it was starting to show some age. The roof’s facia boards were starting to rot in spots, a chimney’s facia was rotting and the skylights were leaking (again). Then there was a giant sycamore tree in the back yard. Some of it’s roots had floated across the ground and were threatening the home’s foundation.

2009_07240001Today I had the sycamore cut down. It took about four hours for the crew of four to saw and clip and chop. That is one step in the remodeling direction. The facia may have to wait for a home equity loan as the stimulus money went elsewhere and it wouldn’t have been enough anyway.

Google Rainbow (part 2) Favorite Places

I was surfing through YouTube and found this video about Google Maps Favorite Places – really cool – so I tried to lookup some favorite places on my own. I didn’t find what I was looking for and one thing lead to another and I found the rainbow at E 14th and Broadway. Who knew rainbows dared show up over New York.

Google Earth 5.0 Goes to the Moon

It was 40 years ago today that man landed on the moon. A lot has happened in 40 years; A LOT.

We have Space Shuttles and Mars Rovers and had two space stations. Today, astronauts celebrated the moonwalk by doing a spacewalk outside of the Space Shuttle, Endeavour.

We have computers that fit on one hand that are more powerful than the whole room full of computers at Johnson Space Center (Houston) in 1969.

We have the Internet and cellular phones that bounce signals off satellites.

“One small step for Google Earth is one giant step for moon buffs. Google has updated its popular mapping software Google Earth 5.0 with a complete map of the moon that lets you explore craters, historic sites, and human artifacts. You can even view the moon in the style of Google Street View, checking out astronauts as they wander the moon’s surface.” Source: PCWorld.com

Texas’ Drought Worsens

How bad is it? With triple-digit temperatures for the past 45+ days and only a trace of rain in the same time period, it feels like we are baking in the Texas heat. But, when we step back and look at historical drought percentages, it doesn’t appear all that bad. It’s not as bad as 2006-2007.

“LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Ovenlike heat continues to bake Texas, and the map that charts drought in the United States shows the worst-stricken areas of Texas have wilted further. The U.S. Drought Monitor map released last week shows areas of Central and South Texas in extreme and exceptional drought expanded since last week. The two worst stages of drought now cover 14.1 percent of the state, up from 11.1 last week. Texas is the only spot in the nation with extreme and exceptional drought.” Source: KBTX.com.

I guess time will tell. I don’t think it will be the driest summer ever, but it sure is hot.

A Universal Principle in Routers

Several years ago, after I got my first router, I posted this on my Geocities page. Geocities is closing in October 2009, so I pulled it off and posted it here.

mosthubsI’m still struck by the profound notion of a universal principle, which I have to say was discovered by application of another universal principle, which again, relates to a not-so-universal principle. With me so far? I think this would be best illustrated through the use of an anecdote – so humor me for a moment and try to pay attention.

One day I was starring at my computer-network’s hardware, specifically the cable-modem and router. Then I was struck by the thought of what I remembered about the router: it can be ‘daisy-chained’ together with more routers – within a limit – to produce a massive network. I think logically in stream-of-consciousness thinking so what was my next logical thought. Of course, how many routers in a limit – or what is the limit. Well that was easy, 255. It said it in the manual. But, this wouldn’t be a story if it ended there. I wondered ‘how’ to get to 255 and what is the significance of one path over another. Is one path more efficient than another? Check out my chicken scratch below for two possible daisy-chains.

leasthubsMy conclusion was that the chain with more routers should be less efficient, but what proof could I offer to justify this conclusion? Another mystery had arisen. A mystery which lead to this paper. My proof comes from the first universal principle: action = reaction (to paraphrase). Then I started thinking about this principle, and why I thought it was the answer. What I concluded (about my method of conclusion on the universal principle) is the not-so-universal principle: it seems reasonable because I cannot think of another explanation nor a contradiction. All I came up with were euphemisms or the same universal principle. A eureka moment. I realized that I had stumbled upon a universal principle. So am I wrong or do these phrases echo the same thought: equal and opposite reaction, yin and yang, give and take, do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

So, I can justify my conclusion by saying that more routers means more signals passing through the same ending wires (per second) means more collisions means less efficient; more take equals less give.