Not (yet) forgotten

Don’t ask me how many classes I’ve taken in my life, or who my teachers were… but I like to think that I manage to keep something from every encounter, even if it’s not something directly related to the class.

For example, in my high school physical science class, our teacher liked to answer all kinds of questions, no matter how outlandish they might be. If he couldn’t answer he had a go-to phrase that I still use in a regular basis: “It’s possible, but not probable.” Maybe he thought he didn’t want to be the one person that stopped someone from developing a teleportation machine or flying car.

My first year in college is mostly a blur, but I’ll never forget this one maxim my Chemistry I teacher: “Two, four, six, eight — who do we appreciate? Valence electrons! I don’t remember why valence electrons are important, but I can’t help but cheer for them every now and again.

A Calculus professor explained many basics the first day, including the importance of zero when it’s used to measure distance, particularly when talking about two objects occupying the same space. After presenting a couple more “That being said, what is the shortest distance between two points?, to which many in the class mechanically answered “a straight line! More annoyed than disgusted he calmly replied, “what did we just learn about zero?”

While I quote some of these regularly, the one the comes up the most is one from the only newspaper design class I ever took (the only one offered during my time studying journalism): The first and probably only rule of newspaper design is “Beg, borrow and steal.” I apply this to many enterprises.


Posted September 10, 2022, under:
school 80s 90s

Programming proverbs

Specifically, I was looking for the handful of programming proverbs written by Henry F. Ledgard in his series of programming books from the 1970s. And although I could not find a blog post I remember from a few years back, I did run across this page, which quotes one of the proverbs, and a few other relevant thoughts:

"High thoughts must have high language."

– Aristophanes

"You can’t trust code that you did not totally create yourself. (Especially code from companies that employ people like me."

– Ken Thompson, 1983 ACM Turing Award Lecture

"Instead of this absurd division into sexes they ought to class people as static or dynamic."

– Evelyn Waugh

"Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one."

– Augustune Birrell

"In programming, it is not enough to be inventive and ingenious. One also needs to be disciplined and controlled in order not be become entangled in one's own complexities."

– Harlan D. Mills, Forward to Programming Proverbs by Henry Ledgard

"I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short."

– Blaise Pascal

Posted August 21, 2022, under:
programming, quotes

Best Parking in the West End

(By which I mean, “Cheapest parking in the West End.”) Parking around El Centro College is expensive. Some places charge $10 a morning or thereabouts, and getting a monthly subscription can be tricky if your timing isn’t right. If you don’t mind wallking about 1/3 of a mile, I recommend parking where I park. It’s a parking lot owned by the city, and it costs me $2 a day. NOTE: This price is good only for regular work hours — my parking times are usually 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I also recommend the ParkMobile app. It works on all City of Dallas parking, including the parking meters. It allows you to set reminders and pay for additional parking time if needed (in most cases). You can pay with cash or credit card on-site and get a printed receipt and not have to pay convenience fees (35 cents or so for this lot, I think):

Posted August 11, 2022, under:
dallas,el centro,parking

And now for something completely Python

There’s been plenty of discussion in one of my classes about Python programming — what it is, where to learn it and what to use to get started. After suggesting several resources to some of my students, I remembered an old post in a previous blog where I listed several links to pertinent sites, and while some are still valuable, many of them are showing their age (this was back in the v2 days).

People to follow:

Other stuff:

Posted March 3, 2022, under:

Common Cybersecurity Terms

A cybersecurity glossary

Antivirus software Computer programs that can block, detect, and remove viruses and other malware.

Backups/backing up files Extra copies of computer files that can be used to restore files that are lost or damaged.

Bandwidth The amount of data that can pass through a network or part of a network per second.

Botnet Multiple computers on a network that are infected with a program that can be controlled remotely. The infected computers are usually used to cause damage that couldn’t be achieved with a single computer.

Computer network Two or more interconnected devices that can exchange data.

Computer virus A computer program that can copy itself and cause harm in various ways, such as stealing private information or destroying data.

DDoS A distributed denial of service attack attempts to make an online service, like a website, unavailable by overwhelming it with a flood of traffic from a team of computers.

Doxnet A fictional virus modeled after the Stuxnet virus. Like Stuxnet, Doxnet is able to damage physical infrastructure.

Encryption The process of using codes to make readable information unreadable. Encrypted information cannot be read until it is decrypted using a secret key.

Firewall Software designed to block malware from entering protected networks.

Hacktivist Someone who uses computers and computer networks to disrupt services or share secret information in an effort to draw attention to political or social issues.

Internet service provider (ISP) A company or organization that gives users and devices access to the Internet.

Keylogger malware A program that records every key struck on a keyboard and sends that information to an attacker.

Malware Software that harms computers, networks, or people. Includes viruses, worms, ransomware, and other computer programs.

Phishing Attempting to trick people into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, often by using emails or fake websites that look like they are from trusted organizations.

Ransomware A type of malware that holds victims’ computer files hostage by locking access to them or encrypting them. It then demands a ransom if the victim wants his or her files back.

Server A computer or computer program that provides specific services on a network, such as an email server that directs emails and a web server that serves up web pages.

Software Consists of code written in a programming language that instructs computers to perform specific tasks.

Software patch A piece of software designed to update a computer program in order to fix a software vulnerability or improve the program.

Software vulnerability A flaw or weakness in a computer program that hackers or malware can exploit to gain access to a system or damage it.

Spam Unsolicited emails sent to many addresses. The purpose of most spam is to make money through advertising or identity theft.

USB drive A data storage device that is used to store, back up, and transfer computer files.

USB port A type of connection between devices that can exchange information and power supply.

Taken from the Khan Academy’s brief cybersecurity presentation.

Posted October 11, 2016, under: