Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Beginning programming

At work I've been trying to make a simple script to pull information from various servers. The problem I'm encountering is the limited ability to run the script, you have to run this from a command prompt and most users are not familar with this.

Instead of buying another tool, I got the idea about building a application from the bare bones. A few months ago I attended a Microsoft show that handed out Microsoft Visual Studio, a software application for programming Windows applications. Now I always thought that building applications of something useful was really hard. I've written programs at school that did things like play a game or added students to a simple database. Here I wanted to do a bit more.

So now I'm trying to learn what I can and re-learn what I forgot (it's been a few years since my last class).

Here's a few useful links for those who are intersted in prgramming as well.

Microsoft's Coding 4 Fun web site, lots of interesting projects.
Microsoft's C# Learning Resources videos, a bunch of free beginner videos on C#.
Learn Visual Studio web site, lots of videos but you need to subscribe.

Writing a letter

Today I sent out a package to my friend in Chicago. I included a hand written letter since she sent me one with a lanyard the previous week. While I was writing the letter I really noticed just how long it's been since I've actually wrote someone. It's interesting to read someone's letter. At times you can almost feel what they are feeling from the way they write and it has some much more meaning than a e-mail or phone call.


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Just recently I found this book at the local book store titled Freakonomics . The book is a very interesting list of reasons from a economist's point of view why certian things happen. One very interesting topic was the reason for crime to lower in the late 90's. In the early 90's, many crime experts said the crime would rise 50%, while it actually dropped 50%, the reasons why were puzzling to the experts. Here the economist Steven Levitt explains that while many people considered gun laws and further police training to make the biggest impact they overlooked the most important piece of the puzzle.

In the 70's a major law was found and won on the courts was Roe vs. Wade, the abortion rights across the nation. Here Levitt explains that since many poorer parents would not want their children they would be more likely to have them aborted. These same children who should have grown up to become criminals 20 years later, now were never born and this would be the reason for the crime drop 20 years later.

It's a very interesting idea and I agree that it does make more sense that any gun law or police traning program.

Gun Control

Does gun control really stop crime? I'm not sure but I think it's a simple fix to a bigger problem. The view of the public might see guns in the news and think that by stopping the sale of certian firearms this would stop the criminals on the street but it's really not the exact truth.

Many crime experts say that it's still very easy to find guns on the street to buy. Also the people who are doing the most crime can not legally purchase a gun so the added gun laws do not stop him or her. It's a very debated subject and I do see both view points but would rather see more push for added laws stopping repeat criminals rather than more gun control laws.

Here's the Wiki on Gun Control that has pros and cons on the subject.

Gun Control Wiki


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


While I have liked the guitar for a long time what really got me interested in playing was hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan's Pride and Joy. It's still one of my favorite songs and I have really liked his style of playing. It's so simple at times but then can become super complex.

To get an better idea of his playing, here's a video showing the close up of his playing style. This is an old video but it's really shows just how fast he plays.

SRV playing Rude Mood

Sadly, as with many bright stars, SRV died in a helicopter accident in 1990 and in a special concert his brother with many other famed guitarists had a very special show.

SRV Shuffle video

Speaking of guitars, here's the battle scene from Crossroads. BTW that's actually Steve Vai playing aganist him self. :)

Crossroads guitar battle

Will the real estate market crash?

When the topic of the real estate comes up there is a big line draw between the people who say a crash is near, and the people who say a crash will never happen. As history has taugh us, things go through a cycle and usually we can find how the market will be affected by looking at how it was decades ago.

Here's a short article from the Wall Street Journal about this topic.

RealEstateJournal Housing Market May Land Harder Than Economists Expect

What is really interesting is the graph they show for the market from the 80's to today.

There seems to be a very similar peak in the 1980's and 2006, with a similar expecting drop. Does this show the future? I'm not sure but I am saving my money just in case.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Getting back on two wheels

After almost two years of not riding (sold my last bike in Jan 2004) I've been really wanting to get another bike. Something I really missed about not having a bike was how it makes any trip more fun and interesting. Taking a ride to the coast is a lot more fun on a motorcycle and it's much easier to stop and take pictures. :)

My last bike was nice but I just didn't like how it rode. Hard to explain but it felt really heavy and never got used to the bike. Now after I had a lot of time to think about another bike I want something easy to ride and cheap to insure. So I'm thinking of two different bikes that I might buy. A Kawasaki Ninja 250 or a Suzuki DRZ-400SM, both pretty small and light weight, also easy to ride.

Both bikes are really nice, and just recently gotten a chance to test ride a DRZ-400 from a local rider. The bike rode very nice but it was not as comfortable as the Ninja 250 for longer rides. The DRZ is really a dirt bike based street bike and it's hard seat with a small gas tank makes longer trips not as easy.

While summer is ending I might be able to get a better deal on the motorcycle since people don't usually ride much in the fall and winter time. Hoping to have a new bike soon, maybe next month.

Range trip

This weekend my friend and I spent some time at the range. Really nice day and not very hot, spent a few hours there shooting targets. It was pretty fun, had Jeff, Kevin and Frank there with their guns. I brought two pistols and a 22 rifle.

Here's the view from my rifle at 25 yards.

While shooting we wanted to see how accurate the rifle was, so we put up this quarter at 25 yards. Here's the quarter after a 22LR supersonic bullet.

More pictures are located here.

Range Trip pictures

Hey there!

Long time since my last posting, I made a few changes and moved the gallery to another page. Wanted to bring my blog on the front page again.