Thursday, August 10, 2006

Time Sink..

Time Sink. This entry is a total time sink – nothing but a collection of links to things that will waste your time (well, except for the first one). You have been warned.

Silver Bullets
A couple of people forwarded me the link to this ACM paper. It discusses “silver bullets” in software. I loved the XML example. Perfect. This should be mandatory reading for Computer Science (any IT related course) students.

GetHuman Database
I spend a lot of time on the phone some days – trying to get to a human being. This little database has the numbers and techniques for many companies (in the US mostly) to “get a human”.

Time Fountain
I might have to build one of these (unless someone can point me to a place to buy one of course). I think my son Alan would enjoy building it – maybe we’ll do one together. A bit of water, a strobe light and some fluorescent dye and you can play with time (and water).

Free Movies!
They might be old, but they can be really good sometime. Here is a site that has a large set of movies that are out of copyright – and available for download. I just pulled “Plan 9 from Outer Space” – never actually watched it. I’m hoping it is as bad and as cheesy as I think it will be. The price is right. I didn’t think my T1 line would feel slow, but after hitting this site…

Thinking outside of the box
Here are some neat questions. Don’t over analyze them, don’t over think them. The less you analyze them, probably the better you’ll be able to answer them.

It is like the database sometimes. We approach it like everything is going to be complex and are so surprised when it is not. Here is a case in point.

Can you pass 8th grade science?
I did very well (I could pass the 8th grade again) – how about you?

Someday, I want to have this much spare time
The graffiti machine – looks like a fun computer science project. Imagine – you could just set it up and leave while it defaces the building – and come back and collect your stuff afterwards if the police are not around.

Just say no to sending MS-Word
I fully agree with this article. I normally return word documents sent to me by people I don’t know – asking for plain text, or at most – html. Most of the times, the word document is simply hold a bmp file that is a screen image of a character mode sqlplus session!!! Cut and Paste – simple, lo-tech, but small and it works.

Funny Math
Ok, I was a math major in college so this funny math page resonated with me. #3 is my all time favorite – “Here it is” – laughing out loud. #6 is no slouch either.

Some Images
You need 8 feet of space between you and your computer for this one to work. It is pretty freaky though.

You know those motivation posters some companies have hanging in the conference room. Here is a “true” one. You always knew the guy in the red shirt that you never saw before was going to buy it big time.

This needs no explanation.

Learning curves for various editors. Visual studio is the best (curve, not editor).

And lastly, this image seemed most fitting to close up the time sink. You are not paid to think after all.

Now, get back to being productive.


Blogger Alan said....

Thanks again for your seminar in the Twin Cities.

The sheer volume of information conveyed was impressive and left my brain spinning (in a good way).

Thu Aug 10, 12:40:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Daniel Fink said....

Yes, Tom. Plan 9 From Outer Space is every bit as bad as you have heard. I received it from Netflix and decided to return it after watching only 45 minutes. Not because I could not stand any more, but because this was a movie that I wanted to watch over and over again, just so I could see the mistakes that I had missed in previous viewings. My own personal copy has now been added to my dvd library. If you have not seen Ed Wood, definitely watch it as it provides great insight into the man responsible for this movie.

Thu Aug 10, 03:24:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Paul said....

Tom - I particularly liked the maths ones. These are better than some of the answers that I used to come in with when it got to advanced maths...
How on erath does Mr. Calm become Mr. Angry?

Thu Aug 10, 04:33:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

I was 8/8 in the 8th grade science quiz, but someone misspelled neutron, so I almost got that wrong. A neuron does have an electric charge which varies based on activity, but I don't remember neuroscience being part of an 8th grade science syllabus.
How can I post anything new in my own blog if I keep getting redirected to these time sinks? :-)

Thu Aug 10, 04:53:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

For the angry/calm man illusion, all I had to do was take off my glasses. Too lazy to walk around my office, which might be too small anyway.

I guess I finally found another advantage to having bad eyesight.

Thu Aug 10, 05:07:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

In the mid-70's I saw Plan Nine put on as part of a David Ossman (Firesign Theater) show, including some history of the movie. Deliciously putrid. It was also on cable a few nights ago with one of those annoying-but-sometimes-funny commentaries. Still bad. Didn't keep the kids attention for even a few minutes.

If you ever get a chance to hear Roller Maidens From Outer Space or How Time Flies, there are parts that are spookily prescient.


Thu Aug 10, 05:31:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom, An unrelated note here.

Today I wanted to thank you for your book and the chapter on Indexes. I was formerly a technical guy but,lately over the years, I remained far from it as I moved over to different capacities.

I had to develop a key financial application by myself(for control reasons) and was least bothered about the indexes, bind variables etc.,while developing it. I must say I didn't pay attention to them as I used to consider them trivial for non-real-time applications.

However, when I set it go, the processing time,100,000 records in each run used to take all day or more in some cases and I was really wondering if I were doing it the right way. Taking a cue from your book, I created appropriate indexes and the entire processing time now is like 5 minutes. 5 minutes!!! I cannot even believe it. There has to be something divine in indexes. Co-workers now think I am technically smart as well(which I am not really !!)

Thanks in lots to you. Your book made my day... and hey, your "Time Sink" entry made me smile even more.

Thu Aug 10, 05:41:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I would just like to chime in that Ed Wood is a great movie, and I think one of the main points is that that guy just LOVED making movies.. no matter how horrible, they were fun to him. Also.. does anyone know how angry man /nice person works? I'd be curious to know.

Thu Aug 10, 10:37:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Laurent Schneider said....

> Funny Math
thanks for sharing this !

Fri Aug 11, 04:25:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anthony Wilson said....

Most of the times, the word document is simply hold a bmp file that is a screen image of a character mode sqlplus session!!!

Yep, and I'm sure everyone in the industry can relate to the Excel as a database phenomenon too.


Fri Aug 11, 05:26:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Mark J. Bobak said....

As if the other items posted in this blog entry weren't bad enough as time wasters, I started poking around that site, and ran across this:

Wow, addictive game....don't go there if you don't want to get hooked....;-)


Fri Aug 11, 02:35:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

slow day eh

Fri Aug 11, 09:33:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....


ref. Time fountain

If you are ever in Zurich again, you might like to visit Technorama in Winterthur. Make sure to reserve at least 4 hours for this... :-)


Mon Aug 14, 06:10:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said.... has quite a few more demotivational images,

Mon Aug 14, 10:43:00 PM EDT  


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