Google apparently is behind this mysterious billboard that presents a nice number theory problem. I love number theory!

Of course, I could have written a program to sift through the digits of e to find the answer to this question, but I’m a pragmatic soul and figure why not just use Google since it’s 3 AM and I’m tired (I know, it’s cheating, but how good Google fault you for using Google?) The answer to this problem is also a website (7427466391) which presents a more challenging problem.

Congratulations. You’ve made it to level 2. Go to www.Linux.org and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

``````    f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________
``````

Keeping in theme with Google’s love affair for the number e, I soon realized (by looking at this site that displays the first 2 million digits of e) that each of these numbers are consecutive 10 digit sequences of e.

I’ll give you a hint, if you sum the digits of each number (something I typically do to see if the numbers are divisible by 3), youll find an interesting result (other than they arent divisible by 3). That should lead you to the final answer with a bit of coding.

The final answer takes you to a recruiting page. What an ingenious and clever way to recruit talent, though I suppose by giving away the answer, I’ve defeated the purpose. How naughty!

# The Effects Of The Internet On American Community

This stolen from Koba-san

Well, the jury is still out on the effects of the Internet on American community.  I thought the following clips from Putnam frame well the challenges that face those who wish to enhance social capital through the use of computer technology.

The absence of any correlation between Internet usage and civic engagement could mean that the Internet attracts reclusive nerds and energizes them, but it could also mean that the Net disproportionately attracts civic dynamos and sedates them.  In any event, it is much too early to assess the long-run social effects of the Internet empirically… neither the apocalyptic “gloom and doom” prognosticators nor utopian “brave new virtual community” advocates are probably on target. \  \ – Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, p. 171

Some of the allegedly greater democracy in cyberspace is based more on hope and hype than on careful research.  The political culture of the Internet, at least in its early stages, is astringently libertarian, and in some respects cyberspace represents a Hobbesian state of nature, not a Lockean one.  As Peter Kollock and Marc Smith, two of the more thoughtful observers of community on the Internet, observe, “It is widely believed and hoped that the ease of communicating and interacting online will lead to a flourishing of democratic institutions, heralding a new and vital arena of public discourse.  But to date most online groups have the structure of either an anarchy [if unmoderated] or a dictatorship [if moderated].” \  \ – Ibid., p. 173

In a particularly striking parallel to the use of the telephone, a careful study by sociologist Barry Wellman and his colleagues of the use of computer-mediated communication by research scholars found that

Although the internet helps scholars to maintain ties over great distances, physical proximity still maters.  Those scholars who see each other often or work nearer to each other email each other more often.  Frequent contact on the Internet is a complement to frequent face-to-face contact, not a substitute for it.

\  \ – Ibid., p. 179

[Via LostYouth]

# Out Of Town Guests

Michael from London and Dave from New York dropped in unexpectedly this week at the same time. We had a fun time driving around nearly all of L.A. yesterday.

# Herd Of Elephants

The production move went smoothly, but who sent the herd of rampaging elephants over to stomp on my head last night. Strangely enough, nary a hair on my wife’s lovely head was touched.

# Blogging While Buzzed

I’m going to buck tradition and start a new craze just because I mean to. Let’s call it, blogging while buzzed. Perhaps it will be the next meme, fad whatever, but this won’t be the happy byproduct or unintended consequence of an event, but the sole purpose of this blog posting.

Yes, I know, I can’t be so pretentious to think that I can start a craze by just saying I’m doing so. But hey! I’m buzzed, I can do what I want! I can try to do all sort of impossible things. Requiring success is not on my radar. In fact, I’ll be right back in a few minutes while I find an elegant and simple solution to Fermat’s last theorem.

Everyone out there get buzzed and blog I say!

I’m back and man, I have written a fantastic solution in the margins of this blog, but I accidentally deleted it and wiped my drive with DOD level 7 erasing technology. Lots of 1s and 0s overwriting that bit of mathematical legendom. It’s rather freeing to take away all inhibitions and intelligence and just type words as they flow `System.IO.StreamOfConsciousness`.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a friend visiting from London. Let’s call him Michael (don’t let the fact that Michael is his real name bother you. We needn’t quibble over details).

In any case, since I have a production move at 2:00 AM (I’m just here to consult if things don’t go smoothly), I thought I might as well go out for a drink with my friend beforehand. So after a few dead-ends (it is a Monday evening after all), we end up at Temple bar where a very friendly band named Boku (meaning plenty) is playing.

I started the evening off with a Knob creek, moved to a whiskey sour, and ended up helping Michael and his friend finish their whiskey sour and mojito respectively. That leaves me quite loosened up for a 2AM production move that is currently moving along quite smoothly. We’re just waiting for the scripts to finish.

Yes, I do realize that any present and future employers will now consider me a loose cannon and will not want me near their production databases. But as I said, I’m only here on a consultory and supervisory role. I have no real access right now and am not a danger to our business (whew!). Besides, I’ve done production moves for a Fortune 100 client after several fine margaritas from El Cholo back when I worked at a Microsoft Gold Partner. I wouldn’t recommend that as a standard practice, but all went well. Till next time, over and out…

# A More Palatable Fahrenheit 9/11, Just the Facts...

This may be a more palatable way to understand Fahrenheit 9/11 for many who are not fans of Michael Moore. His website has a list of the facts he presents in the movie along with the source.

Of course lacking from this list is a fact-checking list for each source. Also missing is what the significance of each fact is. Some may fall in the category “So What?” while (in my opinion) many others fall in the category “Hmmm… Time to vote Bush out.”

Kurtis Blow once rapped

Basketball is my favorite sport,\ I like the way they dribble up and down the court,\ Just like I’m the King on the microphone, so is Dr. J and Moses Malone,\ I like Slam-dunks, take me to the hoop,\ My favorite play is the alley-oop,\ I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go,\ Cause it’s Basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow,

I’ll be honest. Basketball is my second favorite sport, but by a slim margin to that sport of sports, soccer. Being 5’ 9”, soccer comes more naturally to me. I only made it to the JV level in high school basketball, but played at the Varsity and Division 3 college level in soccer, which is not saying much.

I’ve started playing basketball at the Y in the morning before work. It was a slow start, but today I had one of those games that reminds me why I love this game. I felt like I was firing on all cylinders.

When you take a moment to think about it, the computational output of your brain while playing sports is amazing. It will take a loooong time before a robot comes anywhere close. Think of all the unconscious calculations you make in a split-second play.

The ball is in the air, watch its trajectory and make sure to precisely cushion its landing in your hands. Avoid being called “Butter Fingers” for the third time today.\ \ Meanwhile, react to the defender on your left. He’s bumped into you slightly taking you a bit off-balance, so make sure to keep your balance, brace your leg to support the extra weight, and take a dribble. Oh, and don’t forget to keep the dribble away from his hand reaching in. He’d like to get his hands on the ball you know.\ \ As you are half falling, half stepping, be aware of the other defender closing in, he wants the ball too. There’s a gap between the two defenders and one of your teammates is cutting to the basket. About time he figured that out. He’s got a defender reaching in on his back. Is the gap wide enough? Wait a split second, take another dribble, hear the footsteps of another defender closing in, hear your stomach growl and wonder what you’re going to have for breakfast.\ \ There! The gap is just wide enough. Avoid the hands reaching in and throw it off the ground at just the right angle and just slightly in front of your teammate so it lands right into his hands, but away from his defender. Perfect! A perfect layup. Now enjoy the rush of adrenaline and go accept the high-fives and accolades from your teammates. Don’t trip on the court.

This entire thought process occurrs in about a second. That’s the rush of basketball my friend.

# Pot gives you unstoppable night vision powers?

Which is perfect for finding that bag of chips in the dark. Found this gem on Boing Boing about a recent scientific study that indicates puffing a joint can improve night vision. Of course this won’t help you with the “beer goggle” effect.

Their results backed up claims by the Observer columnist Sue Arnold, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa and is officially registered blind. She noticed several years ago that drawing on strong Jamaican skunk suddenly and temporarily enabled her to see things clearly. But Ms Arnold has since warned of side-effects that could impede night-time navigation. “Only trouble was,” she said, “I couldn’t stand up.”

[Via Boing Boing]

# Jeff Richter's First Blog Entry Ever

The blog you’ve all been waiting for, Jeff Richter is keeping a blog. Well actually, it’s a Wintellog!. Several members of the Wintellect team have formed a group blog. It seems Jeff Prosise is holding down the fort as the most prolific blogger of the bunch.

I first met Richter (not that he’d remember me) in September of 2000 (or something like that) around the time when .NET was entering the beta phase. I attended a four day class in Redmond taught by him, with Dr. GUI in attendance. I also met John Robbins as he came out to dinner and a movie with the group. We went to see Charlie’s Angels.

I can summarize Richter’s teaching style in one phrase, “Ok, we’ll just bust out ILDASM and take a look at…”. Seemed like we were looking at ILDASM every five minutes, getting a sense of what was happening under the hood. It was great, though Reflector has taken ILDASM’s place in my tool of choice.

In any case, Richter’s book, Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming remains my favorite .NET book to date. Glad to see you in the blogosphere.

# Event Handlers, Circular References, and Alleged Memory Leaks

Ian Griffiths wrote this informative follow-up to my question on delegate references. The .NET framework definitely does not use Weak References to implement delegates.

# Does Holding A Delegate Reference Keep The Owning Object Alive?

I have a big question that can probably be best elucidated via some code:

``````public class SomeClass
{
// This guy will raise an important event.
private EventSource _source = new EventSource();

public void AttachEventHandler()
{
// This guy will handle an important event...
BigEventListener listener = new BigEventListener();
_source.BigEvent += new EventHandler(listener.OnBigEvent);

//What happens to listener instance here?
//Will it be garbage collected?

}
}
``````

So what happens after the method `AttachEventHandler()` is called? I am assuming that the EventHandler delegate’s reference to the OnBigEvent method of the listener instance is a hard reference. In other words,even though listener is a local instance and would normally go out of scope when AttachEventHandler ends, that the listener instance is not collected because of the delegate reference. Is this correct?

# What a weekend!

What a weekend in L.A! Beautiful sunny weather hovering in the mid seventies all weekend. I played soccer on both Saturday and Sunday. Watched Spiderman II (loved it). Had some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in a long while. Found time to work on RSS Bandit. Went bodysurfing at the beach. What more can I say? I’m a happy camper.

# Michael Moore's Blog

Michael Moore is keeping a blog. Now if I can convince him to provide an RSS feed.

# Letterman’s Top Ten List: “Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About "Fahrenheit 9/11"

​10. That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing\

1. It oversimplified the way I stole the election\
2. Too many of them fancy college-boy words\
3. If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported\
4. Didn’t have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger\
5. Of all Michael Moore’s accusations, only 97% are true\
6. Not sure - - I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe\
7. Where the hell was Spider-man?\
8. Couldn’t hear most of the movie over Cheney’s foul mouth\
9. I thought this was supposed to be about dodgeball\

# Another Attempt To Reduce Comment Span

A little while back, I had a few ideas about how to combat comment spam. My ideas were more geared towards a trust-based approach to stopping comment graffiti than spam, but they were a bit naive in some ways.

Lately, I’ve been following some conversations on various blogs attempting to address this problem. Dave Winer suggest that comments expire unless the owner does something about it.

Phil Ringnalda responds that he doesn’t want the comments to ever get indexed. This problem seems likely solved by this suggestion in From The Orient that notes that simply stripping the links out of the text themselves will make sure Google doesn’t index it.

As Derek Powazek points out, it is Google’s voracious appetite for indexing pages that is the root motivation for people to comment spam a blog. One question I have about all this is doesn’t Google honor the the robots.txt file or the META tag standard for excluding robots? Adding the following tag:

``````<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOFOLLOW">
``````

tells Google not to index the links on the given page. Another option is to add a Robots.txt file and tell Google not to index your archives. Personally, I think this second option is too draconian. I think it’s great that people find my blog when they search on how to select random records from SQL Server.

Perhaps what is needed is for us to get together and extend the Robots.txt standard and then push for Google to honor it. Now, I don’t know exactly how Google indexes a website. I don’t know if it parses it as an HTML tree, but supposing it does. It’d be great to have this ability.

``````<DIV noindex="false" nofollow="true">
DIV>
``````

Another option is to just have a comment that indicates everything AFTER the comment should not be indexed:

This is easier for an web crawler to parse.

Combining this with an image verification system (like the one that comes with the ASP.NET resource kit from SAX), hopefully lowers the real motivation to comment spam a site. If it doesn’t increase their page rank AND they can’t automate posting it, why bother?

Another crazy idea I’ll mention (and I know this will bog down the server a bit) is to use a component that converts text to an image. That way by default, the entire comment will not be indexed. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

# Sony Announces Digital Music Player

I need to see if my brother-in-law can hook me up with one of these.

LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp. said on Thursday it is launching a Walkman digital music player capable of storing far more songs than Apple Computer Inc.’s market-leading iPod, while also undercutting iPod’s price. \ \ The Japanese consumer electronics maker said the 20-gigabyte device, which is its second hard-disk drive gadget aimed at unseating Apple and can store 13,000 songs, will be launched on July 10 in Japan, by mid-August in the United States and in September in Europe. \ \ Dubbed the Network Walkman NW-HD1, it marks a major upgrade to the legendary Walkman brand and the announcement comes on the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Sony’s groundbreaking portable music player – July 1, 1979.

[via Reuters]

# The iTunes Album Art Importer for Windows, written in .NET 1.1

Found this on Scott Hanselman’s blog. The iTunes Art Importer.

It uses the Amazon.com Web Service to find Album Covers for my iTunes collection - and it just works.

That is very cool, though there may be a licensing issue with Amazon as Joshua Flanagan notes:

I’ve thought about using the Amazon Web Services for similar purposes, but I believe it is a violation of their licensing agreement to store their images locally for more than 24 hours. So, in order for the Album Art feature to work, you would always need to be connected to the internet, so the image can be retrieved each day it is used. Check out the License Agreement link on http://amazon.com/webservices and see if you have a different interpretation.

Well, I’m always connected. Lawyer friends, any thoughts?

# The Collision Of Bush and Moore...

If Michael Moore and George W. Bush collide, will they annihilate in a flash of light and energy?)

Perhaps if we did that, the energy output could fuel the country for centuries and we wouldn’t need any of Iraq’s oil.