15,000 plus miles and then this happened


The first “real” snow of the season was exciting.  It turned out that Colorado went straight to blizzard.  A new Jeep Renegade, a foot of snow, and of course excitement at the prospect of getting to drive in snow.  Time to see what the TrailHawk can do.

The sun is still down in Aurora at 5 a.m. The commute ends at Ft. Carson at 9:30. This is normally a 60 min commute.

Southbound on E-470 to I-25 two cars needed to be pulled out of drifts. The drivers of the vehicles needed to be pulled back on to the road in a foot of snow. It is fun to be the stranger that gets to help.

The freeway southbound was stopped at exit 181.

It took 40 mins for a 100 car pile up to be cleared from I-25. Then it was time to pull a police cruiser out of a drift.

The road was plowed for a distance, then was snowed in. There were not a lot of vehicles, and the ones that were there, were mostly Jeeps and Subarus.  By now the cabin was warm, so it was time to turn off the heated seat and steering wheel. After all that, this was the failure of the morning.

So the next time some d@mn fool says a Renegade isn’t a “real” jeep…

Chryslers $500 Military service credit: Retired is NOT medically retired


If you served in the military and retired (20 years) with an honorable discharge, you qualify for a $500 rebate.

If you exited the military less than 12 months ago with an honorable discharge, regardless of time in service, you qualify for a $500 rebate.

If you medically retired from the military more than 12 months ago, and have an honorable discharge, you do not qualify for a $500 rebate.

Apparently those of you that served in the military and were injured in the line of duty do not deserve the same recognition as those that served in the military and were not injured in the line of duty.

What you can expect from the dealership after providing a DD-214 that shows you are medically retired, after you have signed all the paperwork, after you have taken delivery of the Jeep TrailHawk, is a phone call from the salesperson demanding renegotiation of the contract.

At least that is what Faricy Brothers at +1-877-482-6750 expect.

Episode V: The Inquisitvie Tykes Back


In this episode Princess Abigail returns to the Denver Mini Maker Faire.  She hunts desperately for R2-D2.  As our intrepid young princess enters the faire she finds R2 serving drinks again.  It appears astromech droids make for good bartenders, who knew?  The work done on this conversion is… stunning.  This IS the droid she’s looking for.

Princess Abigail has been looking forward to this Maker’s Faire since she attended her first one, THE first one in Denver last year.  You can see the record of her adventures here.  She was excited to build a project at the SparkFun booth.  When we found it, she was disappointed to see that there was no Simon or watch project to speak of.  Her Jedi guardian informed her this was likely due to a lack of space for such an undertaking, and potentially a reality of the economics of this side of the galaxy.  She enjoyed the FLIR demonstration, the “printed” circuits, and digital synthesizer.

The Nerdy Derby was exciting to watch, but the impatience associated with being four prevented the princess from committing the time necessary to enjoy the derby itself.  Her Jedi escort informed her that he would be able to acquire the vehicle blanks and 3D print the parts needed on his prntrbot.  They could have their own nerdy derby, and the parts could be whatever colors she liked (and even made to look like My Little Pony).

Next she would be afforded the opportunity to make a “musical instrument.”  After assembling it from hanging file folder bits, some paper wrap, masking tape, and rubber bands, she was able to reproduce… the mating call of a bantha?  Well, it made noise, and at her age, noise was acceptable.

The synthesizer petting zoo was delightful.  Many times she asked if she could acquire such goods to take back to her star system.  Her Jedi escort reminded her that they were there to experience the entire Faire, and not just loiter at one particular location.

DenHack was the next booth that gave her and her Jedi escort pause.  To understand the engineer there (identified as Radio Shack), this demonstration was one of using cheap stuff to produce an expensive simulation. There was an entire ships bridge constructed from inexpensive tablet computers, connected to an inexpensive laptop, producing an amazingly realistic view of a starship in space.  The unique component of this demonstration was that the different positions were required to work together to accomplish tasks.

Secret Society


Today was my first day of membership in a secret society.  To become a member I had to pay $30,000.  That fee is good for the next 4 years (guaranteed) and may last me as many as 6 years.  I didn’t learn a secret handshake, but I did learn a cool wave…
There are members of this secret society all over the world.  You may even know a member (which isn’t saying much, you likely know me).  I achieved 250 in my test period, which satisfied me at least.  I became convinced that I simply MUST commit…

Wait, I’m just a jeep owner now.

Kinda like it’s just a motorcycle, or it’s just a game….

My Renegade TrailHawk is… Pure fun.  I actually enjoy driving for the first time since my Intrepid.  I miss my Intrepid….

But this makes up for it.

So, who wants to go crawling?

Edit The next day

My government embarrasses me…


World, I hang my head in shame.  I am an American.  When I was eighteen I raised my hand swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  I knew that joining the military put me in harms way.  That I was joining a rare breed of people that gave the government a blank check that could be cashed for a value of up to and including my life.

Seven individuals in Government have sickened me.  They’re hollow, pathetic, and weak.  Their position puts our sons and daughters in the military in unnecessary jeopardy.  My son wants to be a Marine.  I was a soldier.  My father and mother were airmen.  My grandfathers were Marines and Seamen.  My family gives a damn.

A bipartisan Senate Select committee on intelligence made up of 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted 11-3 to declassify the report on TORTURE (no, I am not going to bullshit people into believing TORTURE is an interrogation technique).  To quote another well written author on the subject, “Tom Coburn R-OK, showed particular testicular fortitude by voting “present”.”

When I swore to uphold the Constitution, I did NOT agree to protect people that use torture.  We were attacked by terrorists on September 11.  I remember.  I watched with tears rolling down my face helpless as I saw plane loads of people dying while buildings fell.  I watched helpless as something I loved, people I swore to defend and protect were killed.  I did the only thing I knew how to do, and that was find out what I could do to help.

And now, today, I find out that the terrorists won.  The America traded its humanity on that day.  We turned our backs on the high road.  A group of 15 Americans do not all agree that TORTURE=BAD.  Incredibly, afterwards some of them lied about their vote.  Afterwards all the Republicans stated they voted against it, a mathematical impossibility based on the outcome.  A few of them did the right thing, but are lying about it.

World, I’m sorry.  I want to represent the kind of America that sends aid after an earthquake.  That commits its lives and sacred honor to the defense of liberty and freedom.  I am watching my own government spit on the grave of every soldier ever.  They have chosen to defecate on the tomb of the unknown soldier, and for that, I am sad, angry, and offended.

Some observations pointing at the future


Remember when an audio recording device, a video recording device, a camera (still v.s. motion), a computer, a stereo, a phone, a wireless router, a book reader and a radio were all separate items? Now I carry them around in my pocket in my iPhone.

In 1992 a movie came out called Sneakers. Ben Kingsley and Robert Redford were together in a scene talking about how technology was changing things. They were sitting in a room with a Cray Supercomputer (Cray X-MP). Turns out that I carry one around every day as an iPad Mini Retina. An iPad that does with 12 watts what the supercomputer did with kilowatts.

I am willing to bet that things will continue to combine into single devices. This includes the merging of smartphones with tablets. Once we get passed the requirement of holding a phone up to our face, we will use tablets to make calls. We will put bluetooth stereo headsets on and use our tablets to provide the phone connection. How do I know this? Because I already do it.

The other thing that will be merged in to tablets is consoles. Sega and Nintendo got out at the end of the market. I hope that Microsoft and Sony choose not to waste their resources on more consoles. The A8X chip can handle 4k graphics. The A9 will rival an X-Box One.

I know that AMD, Intel, and every other chip manufacturer can compete with this as well. The fact is we are post Desktop, becoming post Laptop, and are steadily moving to tablets. They are light, have enough power, a large enough user interface, and can be made into “netbooks” by adding a keyboard. The most important factor is cost to capability. Tablets have this in spades.

My concern being an Apple user is that Apple is facing a contradiction. They are a hardware company. They are going the correct direction (tablet with smart watch). They are wasting resources in the mean time with a new desktop computer, the Mac Pro, and ultimately the iPhone line. Apple is having to waste resources waiting for us to catch up.

I have read many places the sentiment that, “there are some people that NEED the power of a desktop.” The fact of the matter is, you have that in a tablet now, without the power consumption. So when do we all quit pretending and just migrate over? Really, when do we concede that it really is all about the tablets?

Prof. LaVecht’s fixin’ wax


If you are looking for an easy place to source fixin’ wax from consider this store. This formulation of fixin’ wax was pulled directly from the pages of the Necronomicon itself. Wether you need to wax a bow string, protect a leather carrying case, prevent oxidation of your metal blades or barrels, coat a wooden handle, or stop your lips from chapping while in the arctic air of the mountains of madness, this is the fixin’ wax you have been looking for. No great old ones were harmed in the creation of this product.


How college professors at Capella University demonstrate they do not want attention deficit students; part 1


Hi, I am Everett Vinzant, and I am Attention Deficit.  I know it sounds like I am going to an AA meeting, or that I am making light of AA meetings with that as my opening statement.  I am not.  I am stating this up front so that I can keep you focused on the fact, that I can not, by definition keep focus.  Writing is the most enjoyable torture I find.  It requires from me the single discipline that I may never have.  It causes me to organize, something I often fail at.  All joking aside, YOU do NOT understand ADD (or ADHD) if YOU do not live with it.  Just consider that.

I am taking college courses on-line.  I am having to study something that I have no interest in.  This potentially means I will fail.  I will explain why.  I have to organize myself to take the course on-line.  Since I am taking two courses on-line now, this becomes exponentially (not linearly) more difficult.  In fact, it is so difficult that I had to get outside help to organize myself.  It was not possible for me to organize the work that needed to be done AND do the work.

With that hurdle overcome I had to deal with the problem of interest.  I am entering a 2000 level course (IT2230 Intro to databases).  I teach the CISSP, CASP, and CISM.  These are security certifications that require basic knowledge of the material in this course.  I am required to teach the basics of databases.  I already have some knowledge and experience in this subject.  I know that if I do not find a way to relate what I am learning to what I already know, I will have a difficult time paying attention.  If I do not find a way to keep interest in this class, I will get distracted, do other things, and fail the class.

The first week of the class was painful.  We covered material I am already familiar with (did I mention I teach it).  The second week we are studied a subject I do not know as much about.  We are moving from basic structures in databases (in the first week) to basic functionality in queries and reports (in the second week).  I had a question about queries and basic table design.  This is what I asked:

I have three tables.  A primary key in table A is referenced in table B.  A primary key in Table B is referenced in table C.  A primary key in table C is referenced in table A.  Does the fact that I just created a loop in the database bode ill for me?  I would worry about this in routing or switching in a network, so I was wondering if it mattered in a database design?  I ask because I could see causing a query to infinitely loop through a poorly designed set of tables like this.

I have tied this material directly to something I understand.  In order to see if I understand the course material I need a response to the question.  I expect an answer to be something like, “yes, you could potentially have a problem due to poor design of the tables in the database.”  This would indicate I understand something.  I could also see, “not really, because…”  I would have even accepted, “great question, read this (or go here), to do some research on the subject.”  The student advisor for the class left a response.  I leave it here as evidence.  The response demonstrates that the student advisor does not understand how a primary key works in a relational database:

The key (primary key) are the only way to link and pull data from all the tables.  When building databases you have one single source of reference that will remain a constant in every table.  This will help when pulling inquiries.

This is exactly incorrect.  A primary key is used to give each record a unique identifier.  Each table in a database can have a different primary key for the records in the table.  However all records in a table use the same primary key (at least at a basic level in a relational database).  Knowing this I responded asking for clarification.  I provide my response below.  If you wish to skip it, it can be summarized as an explanation of how I know the answer I was given is incorrect, along with a quote from the inventor of the relational database explaining why the response is wrong:

Maybe you could clear up some confusion on my part.  It was my understanding that the primary key was a function of the table, not of the entire database.  That is to say that a primary key uniquely specifies a tuple within a table.  A foreign key is a field in a relational table that matches the primary key column of another table.  So according to the definition of a foreign key I should be able to construct a primary key in each table, and have a foreign key in each table point to the primary key of any other table.  Many relational databases support the many to many relationship I am talking about.  SQL is one of them.

From Microsofts website discussing implementation of primary keys in Access, “each table should include a field or set of fields that uniquely identifies each record stored in the table. This information is called the primary key of the table.”  It does not say that the primary key is the same in every table in a database.  So I am guessing that there is a primary key of the database as well?

Some research found this interesting history lesson:
In a relational database there is no real fundamental requirement to designate one and only one key per table as “primary”. E.F.Codd (inventor of the relational database model) originally used the term “primary key” to refer to any and all keys of a table and not just one.

Nowadays the term Candidate Key is used for what used to be known as a Primary Key. By convention one candidate key per table is designated as the primary one (the preferred or most important one) but the key thus designated is not essentially different to any other key of the table. The choice of a primary key is therefore arbitrary and is only as important as you want to make it.

Again, the reference here is per table, not per database.

Finally we hear from the instructor.  I provide his response so that you know it was what was really offered.  You can skip the technical explanation in the middle.  The first sentence and the last sentence are what I am focusing on here:

You are getting a bit too “into the weeds” on this subject at this stage in the course. Here’s what you “need to know” at this point (you’ll go a bit deeper in this subject later in your studies and degree program): You need a single primary key for every table in your database. The primary key provides a unique identifier for every record (i.e., row) in that table. The primary key is an integral part of setting up relationships between tables, reporting, queries, etc.

Let us know if you have additional questions (you’ll want to keep it “high level” – i.e., “introductory” – at this point).

In essence it says, “you are right about what you said regarding primary keys, please do not ask questions that might require some insight at this point, you are not allowed those answers yet.”  It is NOT a response to the question I asked, not in any way.

For the thousands of dollars I am paying Capella University for this class, you better believe I am going to get a better answer than, “go away kid, you’re bothering me.”  This instructor has thrown cold water on my interest in databases because my question was an inconvenience.  I have never in my years of taking college courses seen a more pathetic example of a response to a question in my entire life.  The wrong answer from the student assistant at least showed an attempt to answer the question.  This demonstration is directly attributable to why people that are attention deficit have problems in school.  WE are the inconvenience.  Damned those weirdos with diagnosed disabilities.

Tomorrow I demonstrate that I am penalized for writing a class discussion that no student in the class is willing to put in the work to respond to.