Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So are you ready for the next trial of the century? Have you heard about Popofol?

Propofol is the chemical that killed Michael Jackson. This is the current thinking, at least. We still await the results of the toxicology reports with great interest. So let's play a game called connect the dots. The story tells it all.

  1. Dr. Conrad Murray gives Michael Jackson a shot around 11:30am on the morning of June 25th 2009. Everyone believes the syringe contains Demerol, a powerful synthetic opiate. MJ had been using Demerol to control pain since the days of his Pepsi commercial.
  2. Michael Jackson tells everyone in his household that he is tired and he is going to take a nap. He proceeds to his... errrr... Doctor Contrad Murray's bedroom where he lays down and goes to sleep forever. Murray's bed room is equpped with IV bags, a crash cart, oxygen tanks and various other goodies. He likes to sleep well prepared for action, I guess.
  3. For reasons unknown, personal physician Murray checks up on Michael approximately 30 minutes later. He finds Michael in full cardio-respiratory arrest. He begins CPR and Rescue Breathing. He does not call 911.
  4. Sometime around 12:31pm, Dr. Murray instructs household servants to call 911 and demand an ambulance. About 30 minutes have elapsed since the discovery. It will be a full 30 minutes before the paramedics will arrive. It should be noted that propofol is a very biodegradable susbstance that breaks down inside the human body within 31 minutes. At that point it becomes untracable through toxicology reports. What a co-inky-dinky?
  5. When the paramedics arrive, they do not recognize MJ. Nobody told them either. They see a very frail old man who is already dead. They were ready to pronounce him dead on the spot. Murray does not permit that. He insists that they proceed with a rescue attempt. By California law, a medical doctor outranks a paramedic. A paramedic cannot pronounce a victem dead when an M.D. on the scene rejects that conclusion. Most of the members of that team never realized that they were working on MJ. They found out about that later.
  6. What insues is a rather preposterous mellodrama in which the LAFD and UCLA Medical are forced to work on a dead body for upwards of two hours. Some authority at UCLA Medical finally calls a hault to the farce.
  7. By this time, CNN and ever other news outlet, are running the biggest feeding frenzy of 2009.
  8. In his CNN interview, Michael Jackson's attorney states that this is another tragedy of perscription medication abuse, something he has warned family members about repeatedly. He states that when the truth comes out, this case will be far worse that than the Anna Nichole Smith story.
  9. LAPD Police Chief William J. Bratton hears this interview, and decides to dispatch his Robery/Homicide detectives to investigate this case. This was a highly provocative decision. Bratton was questioned several times at length about this decision. He simply said that this is a high profile case. As such he needed to ensure that everything was done correctly and in good order. For this reason, he wanted to dispatch his very best detectives.
  10. The detectives begin by interviewing the LAFD paramedics and the UCLA Medical team that worked on MJ. All of them report that Dr. Conrad Murray was behaving strangely, irratically, making bizzare decisions, and that he interfered with normal procedures.
  11. The detectives obtain a general search warrant to enter MJ's home and conduct a fishing expedition. They find many perscription drugs. Oddest of them all are bottles and bottles of a powerful anesthesia called Diprivan (Propofol) manufactured by AstraZeneca. Detectives are stupefide. What the fuck would anyone need a household supply of anesthesia for? Why would anyone have anesthesia laying around the house?
  12. Many medical professionals cringe at the first reports of Propofol in the house. They suspect that Michael has found plastic surgeons who will make house calls. They say nothing. Propofol is approved for plastic surgery, especially painful plastic surgery around the region of the face.
  13. The Jackson family and MJ's attorney correct this theory (privately) for the LAPD. Michael was using the substance to combat chronic insomnia. He was doing so with the aid of Dr. Conrad Murray. This had been going on for some time. Everybody was worried about this practice.
  14. These bottles of Propofol lead back to Dr. Conrad Murray. These specific serial numbered bottles can be traced, and they were purchased through standard suppliers under perscriptions written by Murray.
  15. Suddenly, Doctor Conrad Murray disappears from the scene. He is not availible to LAPD detectives for some three days. He talks with several reports, stating that he is in shock and grieving over MJ's death. He says that he is preparing to come in and talk with the LAPD soon, but he is not emotionally prepared to do this.
  16. Dr. Murray finaly consents to an interview with LADP Detectives. LAPD Detectives don't get everything they want out him. To be charitable, let's say that he is less than forthcoming.
  17. The LAPD make arrangements with the Federal DEA to conduct a raid on Dr. Murray's Houston offices. The raid goes down on Wednesday July 22, 2009. The focus was on Propofol
  18. The DEA conducted a second raid on Murray's Las Vegas Office on July 25th 2009. The focus was on Propofol.
  19. Last night, June 28th 2009, the DEA has conducted a third raid on Murray's personal home in Las Vegas. Once again the focus is on Propofol.
  20. The documentation captured in these three raids indicates that Murray had prescribe propofol for Michael's insomnia. Murray also described Michael as an addict in various documents.
  21. Once the word leaked out that Murray had prescribed Propofol for insomnia, a fracas erupted among anesthesiology professionals. These pros were downright livid. You never, never, never prescribe Propofol for insomnia. The first time you prescribe propofol for insomnia will be the last time, because you'll put him to sleep forever. Guidelines say you never use Propofol unless the patient is tubulated (connected to a respirator machine) and an anesthesiologist is present to monitor pulse and respiration. You must have a difibrilator on hand because the risk of cardiac arrest is so great.
  22. Law Enforcement officials have spilled the beans to the associated press. Approximately 2 years ago, Michael Jackson retained Dr. Murray's services as a personal physician. Murray would arrive at Jackson's house in the evenings and leave in the mornings. He would inject a preloaded syringe of propofol into a saline IV Bag. The IV would be injected into MJ's elbow. Dr. Murray would open up a slow drip which would put MJ to sleep almost immediately. Murray would remain to monitor his heart rate and respiration. 30 minutes prior to the moment MJ would want to rise and shine, Murray would cut the IV Drip. Aparently, Michael had been sleeping this way each night every night for some two years.
  23. Evidently, Conrad and Michael got away with it for some two years because Dr. Murray was diluting the substance so much. He was also on hand to deal with cardiac arrest if it occured. However, the whole arrangement was a ticking timebomb waiting to go off. Michael's cardiac arrest was an eventuality. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
  24. What we don't know is what Murray injected MJ with at 11:30am on June 25th 2009. Many still believe that substance was Demerol. They believe that Demerol formed a toxic cocktale with Propofol, and this ultimately killed Michael. Others are saying the syringe contained a less dilluted compound of propofol, and that Murray simply fell asleep himself while monitoring Jackson. {Remember, Murrays sleep patterns must be the opposite of Michael Jackson's. He was probably used to sleeping during the day.} MJ went into cardiac arrest during the time Murray was asleep.
  25. Various news sources continue to report that Dr. Conrad Murray is the subject of an ongoing manslaughter investigation. These same sources say that when the results of the toxicology labs are returned, Michael Jackson's death will almost certainly be ruled a homocide. They expect Dr. Murray to be hauled up on 2nd degree manslaughter charges.
  26. The LADP and DEA deny everything. They say Dr. Murray has been cooperative and that he is not considered a suspect. That smells like absolutely extraordinary bullshit. You don't enlist the aid of the DEA to raid the home and offices of a cooperative cardiologist some three times in a single week. You don't raid the home and offices of a non-suspect three times in a single week. Murray is under major suspicion for 2nd degree homicide. Everybody knows it.
  27. Due to various Supreme Court decisions related to the 4th Amendment, it is impossible to obtain a search warrant without submitting an affidavit of probable cause to a judge. A affidavit is a formal, written, sworn statement, submitted under oath to judge. Probable cause is a standard for evidence examination which is lesser than a reasonable doubt, but a higher than mere suspicion. To obtain the three search warrants that permitted the three raids on Conrad Murray's property, the LAPD, the DEA and the LVPD had to submit three different affidavits of probable cause that a crime had been committed. It is rank bullshit for them to declare Murray is not a suspect.
  28. CNN managed to obtain the leaked text of the Las Vegas warrants. The text cleared the police to search for evidence of excess: excessive medication, excessive prescriptions, prescribing drugs to a known addict. All of this was gathered together under the header of a manslaughter investigation.
  29. This investigation has changed from a cause-of-death inquiry into a fullblown criminal investigation. Murray is the target of the investigation. He will be arrested soon and the grandjury will hand down an indictment for manslaughter against him. The District Attorney will argue that Murray is a doctor who, after being sanctioned by his licensing board and falling into financial difficulties, was offered the princely sum of $150,000 per month to become the personal physician to the King of Pop. He sees stars, and his best professional judgement goes out the window.
  30. What they are likely to ignore is the fact that MJ probably sought him for precisely these reasons. MJ probably knew he would be pliable and amminable for these reasons. We need to remember that Michael wanted this. He could have sought rehab help at any time for his problems. His 'former wife' Lisa Marie said that Michael confided in her that he feared he would end up as Elvis did. This statement must imply that MJ had serious substance abuse problems, problems he could see the end outcome of, for at least the last 20 years of his life.
So, I am almost at a loss for what to say about this Propofol madness. This takes the ledgend of Wacko-Jacko to an entirely new, heretofore unknown level. Anybody who would use Anesthesia on a routine basis for two years is utterly crazy. Knowing and understanding the kind of brain damage this stuff can invoke, I would never willing take it unless life-threatening problems were being corrected by surgery. Murray had to be crazy to choose this approach to insomnia. I wonder what gave him this crazy idea?

I am no fan of media feeding frenzies. I do not look forward to the next trial of the century, and almost certain event. I would really, really, really hate it if CNN begins broadcasting 8 hours of trial per day from the L.A. County Superior Court downtown. I hope that the judge will have the common sense to bar cameras from the Courtroom. If he doesn't I hope he will be thrown off the bench.

This is a good moment to remember that a man's character is his fate. Michael Jackson died of his character flaws.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now it is time for the original Michael Jackson joke list

Sometime around 2001 I crafted the master list of Michael Jackson jokes and propagated it around the Internet. I sent it to about a hundred friends, family members, and fellow programmers. It didn't get popular until after the first case for child molestation was brought against him. I saw many fragments of this list appear in many places, often in corrupted forms, often with the best slammers removed.

Through the years, I added to the list. A good joke or two would turn up every year, and if it passed muster I would quickly add it to the list. However, much of this list remains as it was back in 2001.

So, since a reasonable amount of time has passed since Michael died, I thought it was time to post this up for the record. I am working on some new Post-Mortem jokes. The collection and repair process is going well. There are some new slammers coming to this blog soon.

For the record, the original Michael Jackson master list of jokes looks like this:

Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and acne?
A: Acne doesn't come on your face until you're at least 13.

Q: Why are Michael Jackson's dates like McDonald Hamburgers?
A: It's always a 50 year old piece of brown meat wedged between two 10 year old white buns.

Q: What's black and white and cums in small cans?
A: Michael Jackson

Q: What is soft and brown and often found in the diapers of baby boys?
A: Michael Jackson's dick.

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Santa Claus have in common?
A: They both leave little boys' bedrooms with empty sacks.

Q: What's "black-white" and purple?
A: Michael Jackson's dick after a slumber party with a bunch of 6 year olds.

Q: You know how Michael Jackson walks around with one glove on singing "Beat it"? What happened to the other glove?
A: It is stuck in McCaully Caulkin's ass.

Q: Why did Michael Jackson invite McCaully Caulkin over to his house?
A: Because he wanted to fuck him.

Q: Why did Michael Jackson invite Emanuel Lewis over to his house?
A: Because he wanted to fuck him.

Who knew that when Michael Jackson wrote PYT that he was actually thinking about McCaully Caulkin.

Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and Neil Armstrong?
A: Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Michael Jackson rapes you boys up the ass. That's the difference.

Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton?
A: Bill Clinton is the former president of the U.S.A. Michael Jackson rapes you boys up the ass. That's the difference.

Q: What is the difference between Michael Jackson and Rick James?
A: Rick James was a great singer/song writer. Michael Jackson rapes you boys up the ass. That's the difference.

Q: Why did Michael Jackson contact Boyz2Men?
A: He thought they were a delivery service.

Q: How many Michael Jacksons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Trick question: Michael only screws little boys.

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Gaylord Perry have in common?
A: It's an open secret that they lubed up a lot of little balls with their spit and vasoline.

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Willie Shoemaker have in common?
A: Both ride 3 year olds.

Q: What is the difference between Michael Jackson and Willie Shoemaker?
A: Willie can ride 3 year olds legally.

Q: What is Michael Jackson's idea of a perfect 10?
A: Having two 5 year olds in his bed at once.

Q: How do you know it's bedtime at Neverland Ranch?
A: When the big hand touches the little hand.

Q: Why did Pepsi kill Michael Jackson's endorsement deal?
A: They caught him downing a Squirt.

Q: What is Michael Jackson's favorite fast food?
A: Bob's Big boys.

Q: What is Michael Jackson's favorite dish?
A: Creamed shrimp.

Q: Why does Michael Jackson hate eating at Taco Bell?
A: Because he doesn't want to think outside the bun.

Q: What did Michael Jackson order at the Chinese restaurant?
A: Cream of Sum Yung Guy.

Q: Why did Michael Jackson get food poisoning?
A: He ate a nine year old wiener!

Q: Did you hear that Michael Jackson was taken to the Emergency Room?
A: He was choking on a small bone!

Q: Why did Michael Jackson rush out to K-Mart in a frenzy yesterday?
A: He read that they had "Boys pants half off".

Q: Why does Michael Jackson like twenty eight year old boys?
A: Because he's got 20 of them at once.

Q: How can you tell when Michael Jackson is having a big orgy sex-party at Neverland?
A: The drive way is packed full of tricycles.

Q: They say Michael Jackson has no sense of humor about these jokes. Why do you think he is so thin-skinned?
A: Because he had all the black layers peeled off.

Q: Why are Michael Jackson's kids like U.S. veterans?
A: They all get fucked in the end.

Q: What is the title of the docudrama/biopic about Michael Jackson's life?
A: "The African Queen."

Q: What does Michael Jackson have in common with an XBox
A: Young boys turn them on.

Q: Why was Michael Jackson fired from his post as a cub scout leader?
A: He was smoking one pack a day.

Q: What's Michael Jackson's favorite nursery rhyme?
A: Little Boy Blew.

Q: What were Michael Jackson's baby's first words?
A: Which one's mommy?

Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and a grocery bag?
A: One is white, made out of plastic, and dangerous for kids to play with; you use to carry your groceries.

Q: Have you heard about the foundation that Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor have started?
A: It's called the Ignited Negro College Fund.

Q: How can a guy like Michael Jackson stand on stage and sing "I'm Bad" with any honesty or integrity?
A: Because he has licked every boy in the hood.

Q: Why is Michael Jackson's album new entitled "Bad"?
A: Because he couldn't spell "Pathetic".

The lyrics to "Bad" say it all:
Your Butt Is Mine
Gonna Take You Right

The Pope has issued a proclamation on Michael Jackson.
If he hears any more allegations about child molestation,
the Pope says he'll have no choice but to make Michael the
Cardinal of Boston.

Q: Why is Mr. Potato Head so jealous of Michael Jackson?
A: Michael Jackson has so many plug 'N play noses to choose from.

Q: Why does Michael tour with a huge road crew?
A: He always has a lot of shit to pack.

Q: What is the chorus of the new duet by Michael Jackson and Elton John?
A: "Don't let your son go down on me."

Q: What is the title of the music video Michael Jackson shot with his pet chimpanzee?
A: I'm forever blowing Bubbles.

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Shamoo the killer whale have in common?
A: They are both black and white and live in amusement parks.

Q: Why did Michael go to college?
A: Because he wanted a Bachelor of Arse degree.

Q: What college did he go to?
A: Bring-em Young.

Q: Why is sex so easy to get for Michael Jackson?
A: It's child's play; like taking candy from a baby.

Q: Did you hear the title of Michael Jackson's new radio show?
A: The Anus of Andy Show.

Q: Why has Michael Jackson been doing so many children's shows lately?
A: They give him a lot of chances to plug.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Entity Framework really needs a generic table fetch method

For those of you only marginally familiar with the entity framework, the top object in the system is the DataContext object. Visual Studio will generate a sub class of the base type DataContext for you, and it does so based on your SQL database model. In the end, you get subtype filled with types that look like your SQL tables. You query from this schema. You could use Linq. You could use the fetching methods associated with Entity Framework.

So here is the rub. When you are working on a Model-View-ViewModel app, you need to write a lot of redundant boilerplate code for each one of your EF framework objects. The code is absolutely identical save for the EF framework class type. The type varies. You may need a Model class for customers class. You may need one for Institutions class. You may need one for Products class. I can go on. A close examination of all three of these model classes will indicate that they are identical, save for the type.

This is the perfect moment for the use of Generics. You should write a generic model class and pass in the type parameter. BANG! You have just created the universal model class.

Guess what? You get fucked in the ass (savagely) if you try to do this. When you attemp to write this generic model class: BANG! You run smack into one brick wall. Your DataContext cannot be type parametrized in a generic fashion. Suppose I have written the following code:

var db = new IndirectEntities(); // This is my DataContext

I cannot subsequently write the following code.

/* Psudeo code, my fucking blog engine screws with angle brackets */
var QueryResult = from r in db.Table(of Customer) select r;

Believe it or not, this will stop you cold, frustrate the hell out of you, and stymie your progress. Without the ability to fetch the table collection by generic type param, nothing follows. You cannot construct an operational generic model class without this missing feature. If the Entity Framework were at all friendly to the use of generics, it would be totally possible, and highly effective. Unfortunately, the EF basta... errr... gentlemen did not perceive any use in supporting generics.

I have been probing Google all day looking for a solution. It would appear that Microsoft left this function out of the entity framework. Perhaps it seemed a trifle too dynamic for their tastes. Many people seem to have busted their skulls on this issue. So far, no solution. Some have suggested using nHibernate, although I am not sure that is a solution.

So, here I sit, redundantly cranking out the the same fucking boilerplate code over and over again, when one generic class would have killed the bitch outright. Of course, this is where a code generator would be good, but I should not have the need to set one up. A generic class should have shot this problem down.

Double dumb ass on the Entity Framework team. You just weren't thinking there were yah?

A new plasma king? Chalk another victory for Gordon Moore

So, Google alerts just notified me that Panasonic dropped a bomb on the this morning. The new V10 series is out. Evidently, the Gurus have been working on a review of the 54 inch model for sometime. They were more than sanguine. The review was almost a rave party.

As always the gurus are very professional, and they ran down the numbers for us:
  1. This TV aces the standard def and high def HQV benchmark test
  2. It supports standard Rec 709 very well
  3. It also supports a more advanced color gamut called xvTCC, which is supported by HDMI 1.3.
  4. The V10 has a color mode called Digital Cinema Color (DCC) which simulates xvTCC using your old fashioned Rec 709 Blu-Rays. Consider it upscaling for color. This is extremely exciting news.
  5. For you film school fuddy-duddies who demand a dimmer and more lifeless flat-color and that ugly green/gray look: Rejoice and be glad! THX mode will make your HDTV look bad, just like a motion picture theater screen. THX mode is for you! Your antiquated mode of thought is fully supported.
  6. 58 and 65 inch models are coming soon
  7. Gone are the issues normally associated between brightness and Plasma. Supposedly, the V10 achieves a maximum of 87.9 Lamberts. That figure is so large it almost cannot be believed.
  8. The V10 features a 96hz refresher rate that makes 24 fps films look perfect. You simply get 4 snaps of each frame. No problems with motion blur or jutter here.
  9. The use of a 96hz cadence makes Motion Compensation, Motion Estimation (ME/MC) circuits unnecessary. LCDs that feature 120 or 240hz refresher rates use ME/MC to insert interpolated frames into your movie. The end result of this process is what they call SOE or the Soap Opera Effect. If you buy the V10, you will not see the soap opera effect which makes films look like live video.
  10. One of the most stunning features of this HDTV is its power consumption. This plasma sips a meager 240 watts. This isn't much higher than DLPs which sip 220 watts of juice. This is a far cry from the 550 watts that plasmas used to consume just a year or so ago.
Well, if you had told me a week ago that a 54 inch Plasma HDTV could deliver mega-brightness at 240 watts, with an improved xvTVCC color gamut, and no SOE, I would have laughed at you. Right now I am pretty fucking stunned. This is almost too good to be believed. If this HDTV is what the Guru says it is, you aught to proceed to your favorite price engine to find your price and vendor.

The Guru says that this V10 series provides performance equal to or greater than the Kuro in every respect, yet it does so for less than 33% of the price tag, and at 43.6% of the wattage. Of course, if you desire a larger screen (and I do) expect a higher wattage budget to support that greater surface area.

The reduction in wattage also predicts a longer lifespan. The problem with plasma has been wattage and heat. These units have burned themselves out in past years. The problem is dramatically reduced now. I remember reading an ancient PC Zeos advertisement in which they sold on the amount of heat sinks and fans they placed on their PCs. They strongly emphasized the QA/QC report that a 10% reduction in operational temperature predicted a doubling in the lifespan of electronic equipment. Something for you to consider.

One doubt I must reference is as follows: The Guru said that this HDTV can manifest 87.9 Lamberts. According to the scientific literature 1 Lambert is equal to 104/pi cd/m2. So what does that mean? It means that this HDTV can crank out a theoretical 279,794.39 Candela across its 54inch surface.

I have a very hard time accepting that. I want to see that measurement stated in Candela.

In any case, we are looking at a major triumph for Gordon Moore here. I seem to recall predicting this event right around the time Pioneer decided to withdraw from the HDTV game. I do recall saying that you won't have to wait more than 18 months before everybody is making an HDTV better than Kuro. Further, I specifically said that Panasonic was taking over the game anyhow, and that's why Pioneer ran home to mommy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My first thoughts about WPF and Model-View-ViewModel

For the past two weeks I have been working with one of my fellow programmers at Informa (Rico) a new project to replace our Indirect Lending application. We track many forms of credit and finance at Informa. We track all 8,000 banks in the United States. Indirect Lending (such as for automobiles) is one of the many forms of credit/finance that we keep cross tabs on.

Rico is a fairly ambitious programmer, and he chose to do this in WPF a few months ago. I was just assigned to help him a couple of weeks ago. The project was already in full-flight at that time. I personally would have preferred to do the project with ASP.NET MVC framework. However, my firm still expresses a preference for winclient apps.

I am no stranger to forms over database tables. I did nothing but this kind of application for some 10 years of my life. It was only somewhere around 2004 that I began to work heavily with web apps. If you have not yet tried WPF and the Model-View-ViewModel approach to application achitecture, let me be the first to tell you: You are in for a quite a shock. The world has changed, and it hardly resembles the old paradigm you remember. These are not your daddy's VB or Delphi or PowerBuilder forms.

Before I get into my personal reaction to this architecture, I want to try to give you a vision of the end-game. You have to understand the absolute goal and the final ideal driving these monumental changes before you can begin to balance what I am about to say.

The absolute final objective of Model-View-ViewModel WPF is to create an application in which the interface design is absolutely sepperate from the application logic. In this way, we will achieve an application that is totally skinable. This idea is beyond the simpler notion that a graphic designer should do the interface with Adobe Illustrator and crank out XAML for inclusion in the main project. A WPF application, done correctly according to this pattern, should be able to radically change its look just as the Opera or FireFox web browser can change their skins. We should be able to reach the point where:
  1. An application skin can be developed totally sepperately from the main application project
  2. An application skin, compiled into its own distinct assembly DLL or EXE, can be downloaded by the end user and applied to his/her installation of the app.
  3. The end user can chose between one of several skins dynamically at runtime.
  4. If the skin is housed in a DLL, you should be able to change skins without a restart. If the skin is housed in an EXE, a restart will be required.
We should be able to go well beyond that which Opera has done. We should be able to do what the great developers of Nero have done. Users familiar with the various apps in that suite will know what I am talking about.

What it takes to get there is nothing short of shocking. VB/C# programmers used to the automatic and trivial nature of WinForm data apps are not going to be pleased. In fact, you will be deeply dismayed.
  1. Code behind the XAML form is forbidden.
  2. The implementation of the interface must be completely delegated to the XAML coder.
  3. References to the View from the ViewModel are forbidden. The C# or VB coder who writes the ViewModel can do nothing to create or manipulate WPF control objects on the XAML window
  4. XAML code should make binding references ViewModel class properties only
  5. The ViewModel can make no references to the XAML window.
  6. You need a pure data model, which usually consists of Entity Framework classes.
  7. You need one ViewModel per XAML form, which is designed to collect and present model classes in one or more ObservableCollection for use by a XAML form (any XAML form)
  8. You need to do a shell EXE which has just one responsibility: Create an inversion of control container that maps Views to ViewModels according to matched pairs listed in something like an app.config.
So, two questions might pop up immediately:
  1. Doesn't an Inversion of Control Container (IoC) map abstract types (interfaces or abstract classes) to specific concrete types?
  2. Why wouldn't you a real app.config?
In short the answers are: Yes but not precisely in this case; and because you want to write data.

In our specific case, the ViewModel knows and understands that there will be some sort of XAML based form that will come along and make use of it. It does not know the name of that class or anything specific about that class. In sooth, it cannot. If it does, we get some form of coupling which makes it more difficult to rip off the entire interface, and use another one. Any reference to any aspect of the view makes it more difficult to download a new interface and slap it on. Everything will be hindered. The ViewModel does not keep track of even an abstract interface vis-a-vis its XAML form. The ViewModel needs full ignorance of the View, almost in the same way that ORM guys want the model to feature full persistance ignorance.

Rather, the EXE needs a simple string key naming the View XAML. This key word will be passed to the IoC. The IoC will resolve the class for the key, and it will create and return an instance of this XAML form from it's containing assembly.

The consequence is that you wind up with five layers of code in your app:
  1. A model containing Entity Framework classes. Each entity represents one table.
  2. A ViewModel containing groups of entities necessary to support a specific CRUD form, whose name and design will be spelled out later. These groups of entities need to be grouped in ObservableCollections
  3. A View that is written in XAML and uses binding to spell out how it uses the ViewModel
  4. A shell EXE that contains an IoC which decides which XAML form should be invoked per ViewModel at runtime.
  5. The shell EXE will read a config file of some sort (YAML, BAML, XML, XAML, INI etc.) which spells out matched pairs of ViewModels to Views. It will invoke the correct XAML form per ViewModel, as per your config file settings.
  6. Be happy. You now have a skinnable app.
I am afraid it is even more complex than it sounds. The ViewModel needs to implement some important Interfaces, and the code is quite redundant. It is best to lock those implementations in an abstract base class which each ViewModel must inherit from. Call it ViewModelBase, or ViewModelAbstract. Even so, you will need to implement a property, a "Can__" Delegate for each important event around that property. To implement one bindable table in a ViewModel, you may need a private field, a public property, several events, and a flag or two.

This is presuming you want a vanilla data form, and nothing flashy. Flashy will cost you more code. If you have something special in mind, you will need to figure out how many delegates and properties you need to make that happen.

The net effect is that you will write 5 to 10 lines of code where you would have written 1 or 3 lines of code before. This is usually felt as a drop in productivity and an increase in worktimes.

Are you starting to get the picture? CRUD forms ain't trivial anymore. Once learned the code is quite rote. It can be done by boilerplate. This is highly subject to automation through code generation. Rico has already developed a rudimentary ViewModel generator (in WPF no less) and I just helped him to extend it on Friday. We don't intend to write this code by hand.

This naturally begs the question: If this is highly redundant code, totally subject to generation, why didn't Microsoft just lock this stuff up inside the framework as they always do? If this is completely patterned work, which not hide the wiring under the hood? The answer is surprisingly simple: Because Microsoft has gotten sandbagged over the years for making large numbers of highly-restricting architectural decisions for developers. Developers have demanded full control. They have demanded that Microsoft stop hiding the wiring under the dashboard. Let us write the Dashboard. We are tired of seeing demos for easy frameworks, wanting to customize the easy framework, and then discovering that it is totally non-customizable.

Well... some programmers have demanded this at least. We should strain to remember that as of now, WPF is a market failure. Very few apps have been written with this framework, and few corps have adopted it. The Model-View-ViewModel framework is hardly out of baby-diapers. Fewer still have chosen to use it. Most rudimentary programmers (Micosoft calles them Morts) are not going to buy this at all. If forced to accept it, they will bitch all the way to the bank or the unemployment line (whichever comes first).

So why the hell would a corp want to go through such development difficulties and time investment? Why would a simple financial corp want a skinnable app for a simple line-of-business CRUD form? Most wouldn't. If you are writing a vendable product, maybe you do want to go to this expense. If you are doing departmental SQL CRUD forms, it is difficult to justify.

The ultimate reason a corp like ours does this is because you have two ambitious programmers who are determined to stay up-to-date, and have no intension of becoming obsoleate, outdated, antiquated lasy Microsoft Morts.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The ROMfab Time Machine and B-Model

So, as you know, I am devout reader of Science Magazine and other sophisticated periodicals. It just so happens that this is the exact forum which Alf Temme likes to advertise his marvelous ROM machine. This where I initially discovered the ROM. So just what is the ROM machine?

The ROM machine is nothing shy of the world's finest aerobic/strength building exercise machine. It essentially provides two exercise movements: A deep-stroke rowing and pressing exercise for your torso and arms, and a deep-range stepper exercise for your legs and hips.

Now for the shocking claim: Alf Temme and his buddy Dr. Petrie claim that you reach untold levels of fitness if you use this machine religiously for just 4 minutes per day. Of course, you have to work hard during this 4 minute span; harder than you have ever worked in your entire life. Four minutes of hard exercise on the ROM can make a N00B puke his guts out. It is that intense.

Skeptical? So was I. I dismissed the claim when I first read the advertisement. I thought it was another fly-by-night ripoff scheme designed to separate science geeks from their dollars. I thought there was no harm in checking the website, though, so I did. What I found there surprised me.

This rudimentary html website contained a number of articles which seemed to echo a school of thought I had once deeply internalized. This is the gospel of intensity. I learned it from Dr. Elington Darden, the mastermind behind the Nautilus workout and the Nautilus machines. I don't know about you, but I never got shit out Joe Weider's system. Weider's perspective was (and probably still is) the dominant theory of weight training. It is also absolutely and completely wrong. It couldn't possibly be more wrong. It just as wrong as wrong can be. It works great for club owners, for a number of dirty reasons I won't go into here. It doesn't work for the guy who wants to train.

Incidentally, I should mention that Joe Weider's main offices are less than a mile from my abode in Woodland Hills. I should walk down there and start a fight. It won't take more than a couple of minutes to knock them out. Then I can go around the corner to Fry's and shop for my next HDTV.

As far as I am concerned, Dr. Dardin proved beyond any shadow of a biological doubt that the human body won't grow strong unless you apply some fairly massive overload on the system. It is only when the body feels a massive overload stress that it kicks out of metabolic sloth mode and begins to build rapidly. The body must feel a survival-level challenge before it will go into adaptation mode. Weider would complain this he knows that and his system delivers that overload. What do I say to that? Bullshit!

As Dardin showed in his work, you don't get the adaptive stress you need out of long workouts featuring 3 sets of 10. You will never get adaptive stress by working one muscle group. Rather, you work all muscle groups on your workout day. You do 12 sets total, 1 per exercise. You do your largest muscle groups first (Squat, Deadlift) and the smallest muscles last (forearm curls). You must lift enough weight to reach total muscle failure in each exercise within 12 reps. The moment you reach 13, you raise the weight. You move rapidly from exercise to exercise. You do not allow time for recovery. You should be totally done in 12 minutes.

When done properly, you will be ready to heave the second set 12 is done. Believe me, I puked several times outside the John Wooden center at UCLA. That's how hard we worked. My Nautilus period was the only epoch during which I made massive strength and muscle gains. I reached the point where I could pull 500 pounds off the floor in the deadlift. I never used steroids. If I had, I am sure I would have won a few powerlifting contests.

From this period of my life, I learned several thing:
  1. Long and easy workouts may be good recreation, but they do nothing for your fitness level.
  2. High intensity workouts change your body, and make you fit.
  3. The objective is to reach your absolute maximum work capacity.
  4. You cannot sustain your absolute maximum work capacity for long
  5. Therefore the workouts must be short, sweet, and brutally difficult.
  6. Get in, get it done, get out. Puke hard if you have too, but make sure you put a survival-challenge stress on the system.
  7. When the body experiences fairly massive survival stress, it will adapt to accommodate peak stress levels. This is growth. This is improvement. This is fitness.
This is the gospel of intensity. This is the gospel I once believed in with all my heart. It was the only systematic theory that ever did me any good. The good folks at ROMfab reminded me of this gospel, and it was like an awakening.

It turns out that Dr. Petrie worked for Nautilus at the dawn of his career. He believed in Dr. Darden's philosophy, but he felt it should be applied to aerobic exercise, not just body building or powerlifting. Eventually, he got together with Temme and the two of them formed ROMfab. The results of their collaboration was the ROM machine.

I decided to order the educational DVD and have a closer look. It was an eye opener. I disliked the Hollywood glamour angle of the DVD, but inside the glam was the gospel of intensity. I saw a number of guys manifesting that "I'm going to have a heart-attack and die" look on their faces while doing the exercise. That expression cannot be faked. That facial expression does not happen unless you are being driven hard to your limit. It was no joke. These absolutely fabulous L.A. celebs were being forced to work at a whole different level than what they were used to. The ROM kicked their asses.

In short, I decided to visit the ROMfab factory in North Hollywood California, roughly 15 miles East of my apartment building. I had the opportunity to meet Alf Temme and his chief trainer. Temme maintains a small gym there on the premise. It is open to the public. He has 3 ROM machines availible for public use. Anyone can use them. Come as often as you like. There is no cost. Temme's trainer gave me the quick tutorial and I gave it a go.

I finished the first 4 minute workout, which consisted of rowing and pressing. I worked pretty hard. I am sure I can work harder. I was guzzling breath by the end. It was plenty hard. I recovered faster than I though I would. {I need to slam it harder.} Sweat poured off my body for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

Phase 2 was scary and more difficult. The deep stepper is a fearsome thing for a 300 pound man with advanced osteo arthritis in his knees. It turns out I could do the exercise, but no more than 75 seconds at a time. My right kneed--the one with the tear in the meniscus--was screaming at me. I wound up doing a little more than 3 minutes in 1 minute bursts. Temme and his senior trainer were both emphatic that this exercise was the most important one for me. To rehab my arthritic knees, I needed to do this deep-stepper motion.

I proceeded from there to the Magic Johnson 24 Hour Fitness in Sherman Oaks where I used the Sauna. I also took a couple of 81mg aspirins. To say that I felt great later that evening would be an understatement. Shockingly enough, it got better still. The next day, my legs felt considerably better. I manifested a smoother standing and sitting motion. All of the muscles in my thigh felt sore, like they had been hit by a good workout, but the result was better overall movement. I was shocked. All of this from one good workout.

So how does this machine work? How do you scale the resistance? When you push and pull and step, you cause an 80 pound stainless steel fly wheel to crank around. The wheel has a literal car-break on it. The faster you spin the wheel, the greater the Centrifugal force applied to the break. The harder you crank it, the more it resists you. You can work as hard as you want to work. You also have a scalable slider which guides you resistance to some extent. Believe me, this scheme will make you work as hard as you possibly can.

In short, I am sold. Unfortunately... I have been agitated for the past 48 hours about how I might be able to acquire one of these machines. Finance is a problem. My job is solid, my credit is good, and I earn fairly decent money. So why be agitated? Are you ready for the next shocker?

The ROM Time Machine costs over $14,000 USD. With our state of California 9.75% sales tax, that will come to around $16,500. We're talking about the price of a compact car without any finance from the factory. Mr. Temme is definitely marketing to a more elite crowd than me.

Given our current recession and banking environment, it is not easy to walk into Wells Fargo Financial and ask them for a $16,500 loan to purchase an exercise machine. Prepare for a gun in the ribs. They might actually loan you the money, but it will be a personal signature loan and the rate will probably be North of 15%. We're talking about financial murder here folks.

With that said, the past 48 hours have yielded several shocking revelations. First, there are a lot of these machines on People are selling new units. People are selling used units. There is a clone machine vendor called and they are selling at a steeply discounted rate (perhaps as low as $5,000).

I am awaiting official confirmation, but it also appears that Mr. Temme and his crew have released a new version of the ROM called the B-Model. This one will also be sold via eBay for as little as $5,000. {I still wonder why Mr. Temme didn't tell me this in person. He knew I had some issues with the price.} Yes, that is still a chunk of change, but I can slap that on my credit card if worse comes to worse. That fits well under my limits. I can also walk into Wells Fargo Financial and ask them to finance that at a more reasonable rate.

I can skip the shipping charges also. I'll just drive over and load the machine in the back of my truck. No cost for shipment or setup, buddy. I love it.

Am I going to do the deal? Yep, you bet. I am working on it right now. I am just about the happiest guy in America right now. I haven't been this happy since the Rams won the Super Bowl in 1999.


You don't know how bad my knees have been getting lately. I have been a bit depressed of late, expecting that I will turn into a 400 pound man in a wheel chair over the next 8 or so years. This is as good as a death warrant. From the wheelchair, it is all down hill to the grave. Suddenly discovering an exercise that can rehab my legs and knees is like a God-send. I am pretty fucking happy.


So, I spoke with the folks at Wells Fargo Financial on Friday, and I was most displeased. They offered me $2,500 at 27% with an immediate $25 application fee/finance charge. Quite frankly, I was shocked. The fellow I spoke with told me I was both lucky and good. The last 16 personal signature (unsecured) loan apps he submitted had all been flatly rejected. That is 16 straight rejects in a row. He reminded me that we are still in the midst of the greatest banking and credit collapse since the Great Depression of 1929. Credit remains ultra-tight. When I told him I wanted to buy an exotic exercise machine his first thought was "Okay, here comes the 17th straight reject!"

Naturally I declined the loan. My worst credit card (the one I never use) is at 17.99% APR. I can easily slap the machine on that MasterCard without coming close to the limit and I will still enjoy a lower rate with no immediate finance charge.

All is not lost. Driving away from Wells my first thought was "Why did Citigroup Financial send me a pre-approval notice for up to$7,000 just two months ago?" That was when I tweaked. I'll hand the deal to Citigroup. The offer Citigroup sent me was good for 30 days only. This was at least 2 months ago. The original offer has expired. Nevertheless, I think I will go by Citigroup Financial and see if they will look me up with the credit terms I want.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What to expect from the Rams offense in 2009

So, the Rams have said two things about there offense for 2009. First, everything is going to be built around Steven Jackson. Second, we are going to have a West Coast Style offense, featuring short passes. One fellow at work immediately tried to declare a contradiction here. I see none.

First, let's get something straight: The West Coast offense is not about the Quarterback. The West Coast Offense is about your running back. In every famous implementation of the West Coast offense, there has been a medium-power back with good hands, who takes swing passes, dump offs, shallow crosses, skinny posts, and quick slants. He is the workhorse. He gets the yards and the points. He makes the chains move. This running back is the absolute key to the West Coast offense.

Do I have any examples? How about Roger Craig, Rickie Waters, Edgar Bennett, Dorsey Leavens, Michael Westbrook, Icky Woods, and a guy named Terrel Davis. Do you recognize these names? QBs like Montana, Young and Farve may have won MVP awards for their work in this scheme, but it is the West Coast back that drags the football team to victory.

The second thing you have to understand is that the West Coast in not a high-flying or high scoring aerial circus attack. You throw east and west, not north and south. It is the continuation of the run by other means. You use a short pass like a long hand-off, and you allow your running back to pick through a stretched field. You use this short passing game to setup the long pass.

When the offense is played correctly, the wide receivers often sprint for the endzone. This forces the Corners and Safeties to run deep in coverage. Then, when the QB dumps the ball of to a fellow like Craig or Leavens or Davis, you force the secondary to sprint back to the line of scrimmage and make a tackle against a larger and more powerful back who has a head of steam. After doing this some 12 or 14 times, the Corners are tired and bruised. This is when you go deep.

There are several other important aspects to this offense which you should know. First, there are four pass catching routes that constitute the bread n' butter of this scheme. They are:
  1. Quick slant
  2. Shallow cross
  3. Swing pass
  4. Dump off
There are other plays such as the flanker screen, the screen pass and the naked bootleg, but these are less often seen. What is truly critical to know about pass routes in the West Coast is that all the receivers are supposed to run adaptive option routes. They are supposed to adjust depth and pattern to hit weaknesses in the defense. Success here is predicated on the Wide Receiver's ability to read a defense correctly and find the weak spot in the zone. Often times, receivers are coached to find that seam and simple "Sit down" in that spot. The QB is trained to look for his squatting receiver and pitch it to him quick.

The system of adaptive option routes is brutally difficult to cover when the QB and the WRs are good. Ronnie Lott described a conversation he had with George Siefert in 1981 where the two of them were eyeballing what the offense was doing. Both Lott and Siefert admitted they were glad they didn't have to play against that offense. It is difficult to be everywhere at once. When the offense is committed to hitting you where you ain't on every play, you are in for a rough ride.

The problem is that you need smart receivers who can read a defense according to rules, and you need a smart Quarterback who will read the defense according to those rules. They need to read the same way and come to the same conclusions. If they don't read accurately and in sync, the quarterback throws one way and the receiver runs another. In the best case scenario, the result is an incomplete pass. In the worst case scenario, you have an interception return for a touchdown. Just ask Brett Farve.

Bill Walsh used to say that you needed to keep the same QB and WR crew together for three years in the West Coast before it would begin to bear fruit. This is because it takes time for these guys to get the hang of the adaptive option routes, establish communication, and get a good predictive feel of each other.

It should be noted that Coach Scott Linehan attempted to implement something like the West Coast back in 2006. Bulger & Holt really didn't like it. Bulger made a lot of mistakes. Because he was a weak willed coach, Linehan seemed to give up on it. Now here we go again. For Bulger this is year 3 in the West Coast. However, he has not been with this crew of receivers--whoever that turns out to be--for 3 years. We would expect mistakes and problems as a result of this. However, he should just dump off the ball to Steven Jackson as much as possible.

Steven Jackson is the main reason to be excited about this offense. I already recounted the one and only time I ever saw us use the West Coast (2006 vs 49ers in St. Louis) and Jackson performed perfectly in the role of Roger Craig. He was spot on. You want to talk about a guy with more than medium power, medium speed, and medium hands? Jackson has all that. He is an almost perfect type of West Coast back. He can beat the hell out a lot of defensive backs, opening the deeper passing lanes. He should be able to control the ball and the clock if we pass it too him more than we hand it to him.

It also should be noted that the 49ers scored more TDs in the redzone on the naked bootleg than any other single play. With a mobile southpaw like Steve Young or Michael Vick, this play is almost unstoppable at the goal line. You start all the motion flowing right with a fake Packer Sweep, then the QB comes back against the flow with no blocker in front with the option to pass or run. Usually, there is only one defender in the zone (the backside safety or linebacker). You put this one defender in a no win situation. If he fades back to cover the TE, the quarterback waltzes into the Endzone. If he charges up to take the QB, the QB pitches the ball to the TE and you have a touchdown. The only hope is that he can stay in the middle and jump high enough to knock the pass down. It doesn't happen very often.

Bulger would look kind of funny running the naked bootleg.

The next factor is what I like to call the Wyche Wrinkle. Sam Wyche invented the K-Gun. Forget what Marv Levy and Jim Kelly say. Wyche decided to put Boomer Esiason into the shotgun, and run the West Coast at a quick time pace. He did this all game long. The Bengals would be in their 2-minute offense for three out of four drives. I sure hope we do this. This was a devastating offense. When you run adaptive routes at a quick-time pace from the shotgun, you will wear out a pass rush. They will be sucking air like a moefoe. This is a deadly attack, and I would love to see the Rams run it this year.

The next factor is what I call the Shanahan Slant. Shanahan added two things to the West Coast. First, he perfected a very simple running attack. Second, he scripted his first 15 plays from scrimmage. Since the pass routes were adaptive anyhow, you need not worry about running the wrong play in the wrong down and distance situation, as you execute the script.

Shanahan's running attack is adaptive, just like the rest of the West Coast. It relies on zone blocking. What is zone blocking? It is the simplest possible blocking scheme in the world for an offensive line. You give each man a zone to block. Whosoever is in your zone, this is the man you bury. Easy right? It doesn't really matter what the Baltimore Ravens do with their chaos front. When the ball is snapped, each defender will be in some one's zone. Offensive linemen like this scheme. It is so simple a caveman can do it, but it is also pretty close to fool-proof.

Zone blocking schemes are often called elephants on parade by defenders, as a derogatory comment. Why? Because they usually slant to the left or the right. They try to get the motion of the line going right or left. The running back also begins his run in that direction, but then cuts back in the other direction. He starts down hill with the flow, and makes one scheduled cutback. It's up to him to beat the guys in front of him. Most defenders will be pushed out of the way, and headed in the other direction. Most running backs like this scheme. We'll see how Steven Jackson likes it.

Finally, all of this short shit, dink 'n dunk, nickle 'n dime, continuation of the run by other means, ball-control passing leads defenses to ignore the long-ball. They usually defend a 40 yards box against a good West Coast team. The 40 yard box is divided into a red zone (up to 20 yards from the line of scrimmage) and a yellow zone (20-40 yards from the line of scrimmage). Defenses presume that almost all the action is going to take place in the red zone. They play hard man-on-press coverage in this zone. They guard the yellow zone with a soft zone coverage. They will concede the pass in this zone, if the receiver is willing to loose a few teeth. The soft zone is notorious for producing massive hits and major collisions. They ignore most receivers past this 40 yard box. They believe you have no intention of going long.

If this is the case, and you have no intention of going long, you are in for a frustrating day. If the enemy has good talented folks on defense, you are going to get the hell beaten out of you. It is absolutely imperative that you make a defense pay for playing a strict 40 yard box against you. You do that by throwing a 45 yard plus bomb effectively. You must burn them deep each and every time the opportunity presents itself. The bomb is now a necessary supplement to the West Coast. You must throw the bomb, or you cannot force a defense out of its 40 yard box.

So if I were running our West Coast, the Rams would do the following:
  1. Script the first 15 plays. These 15 plays would be executed no matter what.
  2. Throw the ball to Steven Jackson 3 times for each 2 times we hand it to him.
  3. Zone block on running plays, slanting right or left. Jackson will begin his run in this direction, and then cut back.
  4. When passing, the focus is on short routes not more than 20 yards from scrimmage. Expect the quick slant, the shallow cross, the skinny post, the swing pass, and the dump off. Flanker screens are also good.
  5. The receivers and the QB must read the defense and predict the same adaptive option route in each situation.
  6. Receivers will be instructed to find the deadspot in the zone and "Sit Down". This means turning to face the QB and present their hands indicating "I'm open, hit me!"
  7. Run the no-huddle offense several times per game from the shotgun.
  8. Maybe we'll run a few naked bootlegs to the right from the 2 or 3 yard line.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mike Vick to the 49ers?

Most of the NFL news today revolves around the release of Michael Vick from the U.S. Penal system. He is now a free man. So where does he go from here? Many sports writers are advocating his reinstatement. I doubt that will be much a problem. I happen to think he will be reinstated without much delay.

One reason to predict a quick reinstatement is that Roger Goodell knows Vick won't have an easy time finding a job. Animal rights activists are a bitch. Taking two prime years out of an athlete's career is also a bitch. The life & times of a black quarterback who runs a lot is not exactly easy either. Vick has the reputation of being a throwing tailback. That is as difficult to live down as the dog-fighting rep. Goodell probably won't hesitate to say yes because his yes won't guarantee Vick a future in the NFL.

So in view of this, where can Vick play quarterback in the NFL? In a previous blog entry, I advanced my theory that the team with the worst QB situation in the NFL is the team most likely to sign Vick. So who the heck is that Football team? There are several candidates, but I think that one of them stands out head and shoulders without a peer: The San Francisco 49ers.

Let's face the facts jack, the 49ers ain't got nothing at the QB position. They have shit-squat, poodly squat, and cock-squat at the three QB slots on their depth chart. To you 49er fans out there: This is not a Ram fan breaking your balls. It is what it is, as Peyton Manning would say. You know that this is the truth. Your biggest single problem in life is the fact that you don't have a QB. Most 49er fans in the know openly lament this fact. I have heard considerable weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on the radio up North, and it is all about the QB situation. Gone is Joe, gone is Steve, gone is Elvis, gone is Bono, gone is Jeff... they have all gone away. Several 49er fans I know would kill for the second-coming of Steve DeBerg.

With that said, the 49ers have already stated emphatically, absolutely, and categorically that they have no interest in Michael Vick. You better re-evaluate that decision. Unless Coach Singletary categorically refuses to work with this guy, you should sign him. If Coach Singletary is open and receptive to the idea, you better sign him. Right now, this is your only-ist wing and a prayer of coming up with the Franchise QB in time for 2009.

On the other hand, I am beginning to suspect that Vick will become a Patriot. This is probably the Patriot's only-ist hope of getting back into the Super Bowl in 2009. Vick will probably accept as it is an opportunity to win a big [blank]ing ring.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Global Warming

So, I just heard a Radio conversation between a liberal and a conservative. The tone was civil, and the discussion was on a friendly basis. However, the two were disputing the fundamentals. Is there global warming? Yes, no, no, yes...

I have never taken on this issue in my public life or my private life, but I do happen to know a little something, something about this. As I mentioned once, I studied human evolutionary biology at UCLA. I graduated Magna. I was elected to the Golden Key honors society. I graduated with Departmental Honors.

You don't study evolutionary biology without studying ecology. Creatures are shaped by their environments, and their ecological niche within that environment. Selection favors those genes which can best reproduce given the prevailing environmental conditions. It all begins with ecology, and I mean ecology writ scientifically, not politically.

So do I believe their is a phenomenon called global warming? I believe their is phenomenon called climate change which is always running, and there has been some warming of late. By lately I mean the past 500 years, ever since the last mini-ice age ended. With that said Al Gore is clearly a simpleton, and his view is so simplistic that I have to tell you he is just wrong.

Al Gore says the following things:
  1. There is global warming
  2. Global warming is caused by human mass-urban industrial activity
  3. Mass-urban industrialism produces copious quantities of CO2.
  4. Carbon Dioxide is the efficient cause of global warming.
Well, ever since Al published his famous book, the Science Channel HD and other major outlets, have been embarrassed to correct his science. They have been very polite about it. They have never called him out by name. They have never directly pointed out the foibles of his written words. However, they have been on a non-stop campaign to educate people about the broader picture.

The Earth has been warming for the past 500 years

In the year 541 B.C., a giant Indonesian volcano called Krakatoa exploded with a force 15,000 times greater than the force of the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. This super-eruption threw so much smoke and ash into the atmosphere that we experienced a phenomenon very similar to a nuclear winter. The Krakatoa super explosion triggered a mini-ice age that lasted approximately 900 years.

The explosion was so devastating that is shredded what was a contiguous sub-continent into what we see as the Indonesian archipelago today. Quasi-historical sources on the East Coast of India report entire coastal towns being submerged under water by earthquakes. Europe went under ice, and experienced the Dark Ages. Moisture increased, and temperature decreased around the Arab world, setting them up for the golden age of Islam. North Africa and the Middle East was no desert wasteland in this epoch.

The lingering effects of the Krakatoa super explosion cleared by around 1500 AD. Europe began to thaw out. The middle east began to dry out. Not coincidentally, Europe had a little thing called the Renaissance. This happened the moment surplus food began to become available to support unproductive fellows like Galileo, and Columbus. Islam began to stagnate.

Now all this represents a bit of problem for Al Gore. Al says human industrial activity and CO2 production is the efficient cause of global warming. Yet the industrial revolution is only a bit over 200 years old. The planet has been warming for 500 years. This is the biggest single bullet hole in his thesis. It is close to mortal. Copious human production of CO2 has only been happening for the past 200 and yet the planet has been warming for 500 years.

Maybe there are other forces at work in climate change? Yep, there are. But if this is the case, can we say that human CO2 production is the efficient cause of global warming? Well, you could say that, but you would be wrong. It should be noted that the Krakatoa super explosion also released copious quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. We're lucky it did. If it had not, the heavy particulate matter in the upper atmosphere might have caused so much cooling we might have had a mini-snowball Earth.

We should also note that the Krakatoa super explosion was one of the most massive releases of heat energy and CO2 ever seen on the surface of the Earth, yet the end product of that heat and CO2 was a mini-iceage. Is this not ironic and counter-intuitive? Yep, it is. Don't let this be lost on you. Cause and effect is a very complicated thing in the Earth's biosphere.

So what else effects global warming?

There are a number of other contributing factors to climate change which have been warming the Earth:
  1. Solar Cycles. There are seasons in the Sun. Sometimes the Sun burns more violently. Sometimes more passively. Sometimes there are fewer solar flares. Sometimes there is massive solar flare activity. The amount of solar energy throw at our world by our Sun is the biggest single factor in our planet's temperature.
  2. Magnetic reversal. The Earth has a large magnetic field. This protects us from the Solar wind. From time to time, the magnetic core of our Earth flips polarity. One pole becomes positive and the other becomes negative. In the run up to this event, the magnetic shield of our planet weakens and fails. During this period of time, our planet is exposed to much greater quantities of solar radiation. This has many negative consequences for life on Earth. One of them is higher atmospheric temperatures.
  3. The thermal core of our planet. People often forget that we have a molten core at the center of our world. It is hot. The pressure of the weight of our world generates temperates sometimes estimated to be higher than the surface of the sun. The internally generated heat of our world has ended entire epochs in Earth history. Snowball Earth was terminated by a violent period of volcanic eruptions in which internal heat from the core warmed the Earth and destroyed that ice age.
  4. The action of biological lifeforms. Algae have terminated entire epochs in Earth history all by themselves. The advent of green plants on the surface of the Earth caused massive changes to the Oxygen content of our atmosphere.
Point #1 bears the closest examination. It is the point of greatest contention between environmentalists and solar physicists. Solar physicists have told us that the 20th century was period of exceptionally high violence in the solar activity. There were a lot of flares, coronal discharges, sunspots, etc. during the 20th century. It was an active epoch. Lately, the Sun has been calming down. The last few years have shown a marked reduction in activity. This would signify a trend towards cooling. Sure enough, the past few years have shown a marked trend towards cooling.

This is anecdotal, but we just passed through the coolest May-June I have ever seen in Los Angeles. It was similar throughout much of California. This winter, reports from Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks! fame suggested one of the most brutal winters in New England's recorded history. He reported being snowed in for weeks at a time in Connecticut.

Point #2, in particular, demands more attention. Our planet's magnetic field might just be the most vital point in this entire contentious debate. This field is generated by the molten, red-hot, iron core of our planet. It protects us from the solar wind, including deadly gamma radiation. The magnetic core of our planet is dipolar. The positive end sits at the North end or the South end, and visa versa. What do you mean by North or South? From time to time, the magnetic core of the planet shift, and we see a reversal, where the two poles flip. One becomes positive and the other becomes negative. This is a gradual process. We do not know how long it takes to complete this process. The last time it happened, nobody was studying the phenomenon. Over the course of the past 10 million years, there has been a magnetic reversal once every 200-250 thousand years. The process takes 1,000 to 7,000 years according to the limited information we have now. During the peak of the transition, the magnetosphere may drop to 10% of its top strength.

A drop to 10% of magnetosphere strength means more exposure to more radiation. Sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections pose a greater danger during this period. Temperature increases will be felt.

Now for the fun part. During the very brief period of historical time during which we humans have been investigating the magnetism of our planet's poles, we have measured a 10% drop in the strength of our magnetosphere. That is a bit scary. It is thought that a drop in the strength of the magnetosphere precedes a magnetic reversal event, or at least is a part of it all. This happens as the poles begin to "wander" as the geologists say. Ready for the pip? There has not been a magnetic reversal in the past 800,000 years of Earth history. We are long overdue.

In short, we know the following things. First, we went through a mini ice age as a result of the Krakatoa super explosion. This started in 541 AD, and began to terminate sometime around 1500 AD. Earth began to heat up 500 years ago without mass urban idustrial CO2 production. Second, we know the Sun went through a violent epoch during the 20th Century. Third, we know the strength of our magnetosphere has weakend some 10% in the past 100 years. Fourth, we know it has been some 800,000 years since the last polar reversal event.

This is a complex picture. It is a hell of a lot more complex than Al Gore would have you believe. This is because he is politician, not a scientist, and he has a political action agenda to sell. Some poli-ta-ticks have faulted Gore for being too technical, and being to complex for a political audiance. This makes anyone with a background in science laugh like hell and then cry. Gore is a simpleton.

In short, mass production of CO2 is just one factor in a complex picture producing our latest small round of climate change. It may well be the only thing we can control, but it may be a very small lever on the machine, doing little in the end.

How then should we live?

In view of all this information, we are left with the really big question: How then should we live my brothers? Let's talk about this next time. I am a bit tired after all this. Let's talk action a bit later. There is a bit more about the natural history of the Earth that you should know before we can talk honestly and maturely about this subject.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mike Vick to the Rams? Part 2

So guess what? Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network just reignited the rumors about Michael Vick going to the Rams. In a lengthy discussion with Solomon Wilcots about Michael Vick's future, Dukes stated that he believes Vick makes sense for the Rams because:
  1. The Rams don't have a backup
  2. The Rams have a questionable situation with Marc Bulger.
  3. Vick is weapon who can help... presumably a lot
  4. Rams general manager Billy Devaney is the guy who drafted Vick at the Falcons
I hate to sound snarky, but how much to you think Devaney regretted making that selection when Dogfight-Gate went down in Atlanta some two years ago? I really don't intend that to be a snarky zinger. I mean this as a serious question. There is no reason to suppose that Devaney is still in love with Vick, if he ever was. I was always under the impression that Vick was chosen by Coach Dan Reeves. In his many interviews with NFL Films, Reeves has always made it sound that way. Further, when the Titanic hit the iceberg in Atlanta, you have to suppose Devaney was second guessing himself (kicking himself in the ass) for drafting Vick.

No slight is intended to Dukes. Do you know that Jamie Dukes is my favorite analyst in the NFL network? I think Dukes almost always has the most accurate take on just about every subject. If he were a QB, he'd have a completion rate of about 93%. Of course, I like Solomon Wilcots also. He's a hell of an analyst. He is an L.A. kid who grew up a fan of the Rams, so we have something in common there.

Because Dukes said it, I actually sat up on my couch suddenly listened like hell. This is not the sort of guy who would drop a bullshit rumor. Wilcots rejected the argument claiming that Vick will not be welcomed by any team where he might create controversy. Only teams with a stable QB situation will welcome Vick to the club. This would eliminate St. Louis, as Bulger is questionable.

Well, after considering this for an hour now, let me tell you what I think:
  1. Spagnuolo is entirely focused on building team character.
  2. Team character, perseverance, integrity, and courage has been a persistent problem for the Rams, with a brief respite during the glory of the team Dick Vermeil built.
  3. Vick may be a reformed man. He may have a humble and contrite spirit. He may be ready to go bigger than ever because of this attitude adjustment. Still, bringing him in would send precisely the wrong message to the team. It would say that almost anything will be tolerated if you can help us on the field.
  4. This is how you develop bad character problems. This kind of message causes a team to spiral out of control
  5. I think that the team with the worst QB situation in the NFL is the most likely team to sign Vick.
  6. I think Vick's greatest incentive is to sign with the team having the worst QB problems in the NFL. This is how you become a starter again quickly. This is how you get a nice sized contract. I am not talking about a giant contract either, but one large enough to get out of bankruptcy.
  7. If you think the Rams have the worst QB situation in NFL, you're on crack. We're not even close to the bottom.
  8. Denver, Buffalo, Oakland, Minnesota, Tampa, and San Francisco are all far worse off than the St. Louis Rams.
  9. I remind you that Bulger made it to two Pro Bowls under Mike Martz, and was considered the franchise savior after... we let Warner go. Don't make me cry. Bulger also lit the Pro Bowl with 5 TDs and was elected the MVP by the winning side. Of course, nobody cares about this.
  10. I have said repeatedly that Bulger has been killed by our formerly dreadful line. I can't count the times he has been hit in the face on a blitz up the middle on a quick 3 step drop. Why do you think the first priority was to grab an expensive free-agent center like Jason Brown? Because we had to stop the blitz up the middle. Why do you think we drafted Jason Smith with the #2 pick in the entire draft? Because we had to lock down either the right or left tackle.
  11. Hopefully, our line will be substantially better this year, and Bulger will return to form.
  12. If not, we will select Tim Tebow next year. We'll get a franchise QB and great character also.
What about Farve in Minnesota? I wish Brett well, however, if he comes back this time, his Ironman streak is toast. As I said, the Vikings have a far worse situation than the Rams. The Vikings would be better served if they got Vick.

Now, what if the Rams acquired Michael Vick? What happens then? Well, there would be a controversy. Some fans would be irate. Some would want to start him immediately. It would divide the locker room. Bulger would probably fail in this situation. For Vick, this could potentially be an ideal situation. He can't wear number 7, but he would have a powerful running back behind him. He would have the West Coast Offensive he once talked about wanting to run. He would have a revamped offensive line that would be strong enough to give the scrambler sufficient protection to avoid a sack.

Setting aside the vicious locker room politics this would create, the Rams would also have a guy who could potentially run the West Coast well. Vick always believed that he could be the second coming of Steve Young. He's left handed. He has an arm just as strong as Young. He can run even better than Young could. That is saying a hell of a lot, but it is true.

To be quite frank with you, Bill Walsh's offense doesn't work so well anymore. This is why nobody plays it in the pure form these days. Today, no NFL defense concedes the short pass. The quick slant, the shallow cross, and the dump off are all contested plays these days. To make the West Coast work, you must throw the ball deep and get the big play. Defenses cannot be allowed to guard a 40 yard box against you. To break the 40 yard box defense, you must throw it deeper than 40 yards. The deep pass is now a necessary addition to the West Coast. Bulger can do this. So can Michael Vick.

However, to make the 49er offense really, really, really dynamic, you have to have a QB who can run. The 49er offense was never more powerful, never to be feared more, never more dynamic than under Steve Young. If you covered his short guys with a 40 yard box, he went deep. If you covered his short and his deep guys, he simply took off and ran with the balll... 65 yards to the end zone.

There is a serious school of thought out there that thinks only Vick has a prayer of doing what Young did. Vick is the only mobile south-paw who can throw. Like Young, he stood accused of being a throwing tailback. Like Young, he might breath some new life in an aging system that doesn't work so well anymore without dynamic talent.

I must admit, that vision of the 1992 San Francisco offense up and running in St. Louis are passing through my head. However, I think it will be another mobile Southpaw named Tebow who will do this eventually.

So what do I ultimately think? I think the Rams are not going to do it. If they do do this, they better cut or trade Bulger. That won't happen because Bulger has a giant contract. It would be a massive salary cap hit to cut him, and no team will take that contract. It is cheaper to keep him, and not on the bench. The Rams have cash flow problems that aren't helped any by recession, inheritance taxes, and rumors that they are going to move back to Los Angeles. The money factor makes any move at QB extremely unlikely this year.

This is why Spagnuolo already met with Bulger and assured him that he is the starting QB in St. Louis in 2009. He has no reason to fear for his job.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twitter is for Twits and written by Twitiots

Of the Twits, for the Twits, and by the Twitiots

So, as may well imagine, I am sitting her grinning like the Cheshire Cat this morning. My grin is from ear to ear. I look like a slit watermelon, or John Madden after SBXI. I am happier than a Raider fan after Jack Tatum knocked Sammy White's helmet off.


A scandal surfaced and then exploded on the web yesterday. A group called broke the story. It seems they had been sent a Tarball containing 310 critical, confidential business documents from Twitter's corporate offices. We're talking about serious financial documents, full financial projections, chart of accounts, corporate plans, executive strategy meetings, pitch documents for a Twitter TV show, confidential contracts, confidential employee documents, job applications, including social security numbers and employee credit card numbers.

Wow... Holy shit... how the fuck did get this info?

It would seem a dude name "Hacker Croll" broke Twitter's security and acquired all the docs. Accounts of how he accomplished this feat are somewhat in conflict. We shall see how this shakes out. However he did it, the dirty deed has been done. The documents are not forgeries. They are the real McCoy; the legitimate, genuine articles. Hacker Croll will go down in the Hacker's Quarterly 2600 hall of fame. His enshrinement ceremony will take place immediately after he gets out of jail, or beats the rap, which ever comes first.

One account of this hack states that Twitter uses Google apps for eMail, word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, etc. One month ago, Hacker Croll captured, by some means, the login and password for one Twitter administrator. This gave him entry to the bonanza.

Are you ready for the hysterically funny part? I am serious, this is going to kill you. The CEO of Twitter is a fellow named Evan Williams. Hacker Croll busted the email account belonging to Mr. William's wife. Within the wife's email documents, he found Evan's Amazon and PayPal account login information. He accessed those accounts also, presumably.

Now are you ready for the killing Joke? A joke so funny you can only hear it once, because you will die laughing? Tom's Hardware went to press this morning indicating that the master password to all Twitter servers is "Password". No shit?!?!?!? Password is the password?

Do you want to talk about the Doomsday Armageddon scenario come to life? Do you want to talk about the ultimate nuclear meltdown turning into the China Syndrome? Do you want to talk about a large asteroid hitting the Earth and causing a mass extinction? Do you want to talk about two Neutron Stars colliding triggering a targeted Gama Ray burst aimed dead at your face? This is the biggest doomsday scenario since Brigadier General Jack Ripper launched attack plan R in Dr. Strangelove. Hacker Croll is Brigadier General Jack Ripper. Hacker Croll executed attack plan R.

For Twitter, this is nothing shy of a mega-disaster. This is a staggering defeat the dimension of which we have never experienced before: It is a total route from which no honor can be salvaged. Hacker Croll just handed them their asses on a platter and the platter is bent, warped and full of bullet holes. This is like the Romans loosing to Hannibal in the Battle of Cannae.

I would call this the largest security breach in the enitre history of computing. The end of story.

If you are looking for sympathy from me, you ain't gonna get it. I am going kick you when you are down. This is schadenfreude time. This is the most fun I've had since the Patriots lost to the Giants. The Juggernaut is down! The Juggernaut is down! The Juggernaut is down! Personally, I am laughing like hell at yah!

And to think that this whole thing ( began as a Ruby on Rails project, on a Macintosh, written by an Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator guy. You see, this is what you get when graphic artists are running the show! I see this as a business defeat for the entire cosmetically minded, graphic design tribe which currently afflicts the world of programming and development, via Ruby on Rails.

I like my stuff to look good, and I don't mind handing the almost-finished project over to a graphics guy for a style job, but you should never ever put these little fuckers in charge and let them run the show. They will do stupid things, like leave the entire default password scheme in place, and use loosely secured Google documents on the web. You lock artist down, slam them into a deeply subservient position, preferably in chains, in the basement. You don't let them see the light of day. You don't let them call any shots. Shot-calling has to be in the hands of rational men.

I don't think Google Documents are responsible for the lousy security practices of the Macintosh artists who program with Ruby on Rails.


The current scuttlebutt on the web clearly shows, from the corporate documents, that is privately owned firm. However, the owners would very much like to do an IPO soon to cash in on their super-fad. Unfortunately, Twitter has never made a profit. They do not currently have a plan to make a profit. They do have a plan to make a plan to make a profit. That plan is in progress. They are considering several models.

Now for the subjective. Some who have evaluated the favorite models and the figures say that they are pumped up and inflated. The docs show considerable efforts to overstate potential for profits. This is normative before any IPO. Most IPOs engage in outright intelectual and financial dishonesty to attract a nice first-day price. You have to get those first investors to jump on the stock early and fast.

Business school types have been buzzing about this all day long. The prevailing opinion seems to be that's IPO has been fundimentally compromised by this security breach. Not only will overstatements of potential profits not work now, but investors are going to be very leery of handing their money to a CEO who cannot secure his own and account.

Why would you partner with these chumps? Why would you want to own a piece of these chumps? If you can buy enough stock to own the fad outright, you could fire the commanders, and maybe earn money on the fad. However, if you are one of a million investors, you can't do that. Most heavy-weight investors would not take that approach anyhow. I saw stay away.