Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring in New Hampshire

Spring has sprung. I've got the photos and a poem to prove it. The poem is by Robert Frost, once a resident of New Hampshire and, I imagine, often inspired by scenes like these.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

John Backus, 1924 - 2007

As reported in an AP story printed in the Washington Post, John Backus died on Saturday at the age of 82. Backus, an IBM Fellow, led the team that developed FORTRAN, the first widely-used, high-level programming language. He also contributed to the development of the Backus-Naur Form (BNF), a language for describing the grammar of programming languages. Software developers, even those who have never used FORTRAN or BNF, owe John Backus a huge debt of gratitude.

As quoted in the AP story:
"Much of my work has come from being lazy," Backus told Think, the IBM employee magazine, in 1979. "I didn't like writing programs, and so, when I was working on the IBM 701 (an early computer), writing programs for computing missile trajectories, I started work on [FORTRAN] to make it easier to write programs."
Backus claimed to be lazy. In reality, his hard work hastened the development of the software industry we know today.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Internet Memory

A co-worker recently told me she has been reading my blog. She told me I have "quite an imagination." I knew there was something wrong. When I asked her what she meant, she referred to my cool drawing of Elvis Presley. My ... er ... what?

It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. She had followed a link from this post in Bob's blog to another blog called Axis of Elvis. Bob clearly said Axis of Elvis was my blog and there is even a link to Runtime Log from Axis of Elvis. So it is reasonable to assume I own Axis of Elvis.

But I don't.

The explanation is simple. I originally called this blog Axis of Elvis but I quickly grew tired of the name. I renamed the blog, but held on to the Axis of Elvis address for several months as a way to redirect traffic to Runtime Log. After a while, another blogger contacted me about the Axis of Elvis address. He asked if I would be willing to give the address to him. In exchange, he said he would link to Runtime Log. I agreed.

In the month's since, there has been almost zero activity on the new Axis of Elvis. There was a cool drawing of Elvis Presley there, but now it's gone. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have transferred the address. The new owner could write strange and vile posts in that space and people might assume it is me. Then again, he could do something really creative and people might assume it is me. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Any how, it is two years to the day since I started Runtime Log (nee Axis of Elvis). I am marking my two year anniversary by reflecting on how Internet memory is like human memory. Links last forever. It's just that, after a few years, the links don't always take you to the right place.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How to Make Snow

First, set the outdoor temperature to -38F. Then, boil one pot of water ...

Video courtesy of the Mount Washington Observatory.

There are lots of other Mount Washington videos on YouTube. I think my favorite is Wind Sledding.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunrise at Odiorne Point

This week was school vacation week in New Hampshire. On Tuesday my son and I drove out to Odiorne Point in Rye to take pictures of the sunrise. To be honest, I'm not a morning person. I don't see many sunrises, but this one was incredible. See for yourself on this tabblo: