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2007 » February MikeFitz with overflow bit set…

Archive for February, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

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2:40am this morning.  A good mate lost his battle with cancer.  It’s times like these, one does ponder the big questions.

From an engineering point of view, the meaning of life doesn’t matter.  Life is.  And then, some time later, life is no more.  Just the facts, Ma’am.  When asked by the door-knocking god-botherers, did I understand the meaning of life, my response was “Life is the time between birth and death.”  No dispute there.

But every day of our life, we are faced with choices; how to behave; how to react; how to vote.  We are all from different backgrounds, different experiences and with different “philosophies”.  When choosing a course of action, each of us may ask a different question:

  • What would Jesus do?
  • What would Gandhi do?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Which action is best for my family in the long term?
  • What’s best for the long-term survival of our species on this planet?
  • Which action will give me fewest regrets in my final hour?

I think that nearly every time, no matter which of these questions we ask, if we answer honestly and with good in our hearts, we’ll make the same right choice.  And clearly the wrong choice is the one we adopt from others without thinking for ourselves.

Now please forgive me for disliking intolerant people who try to use race, religion, philosophy or “perceived differences in cultural values” as a weapon to divide us.

———————
BTW, my mate who passed away this morning was a wonderful human being who spent his whole life helping others.  He also happened to be a Catholic Priest.

Building A Real World WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) Application: QMSDNUG Feb Meeting

Monday, February 19th, 2007

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Qld MSDN User GroupJoseph Cooney, speaking on
“Building A Real World WPF Application”.

For the last 7 months Joseph has been building a non-trivial application in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) in his “spare time”. During this time he has also developed a number of proof-of-concepts in WPF. In this talk he will share his experiences developing with this new platform.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Choosing an application type & deployment strategy, and how the choices you make at this early stage determine what features of WPF you should and should not use.
  • Structuring your WPF project in Visual Studio - what kind of artefacts you will probably want to create, and where you should put them.
  • Choosing between doing things in XAML and doing things in C#/VB.NET
  • Doing things on Background Threads
  • Troubleshooting WPF Performance issues - some starting points

See more of Joseph’s WPF work at http://learnwpf.com/.  See also Windows Presentation Foundation.

Date: Tuesday 20 Feb 07
Time: 17:30 for 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Microsoft Brisbane office, Level 9, Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle St, Brisbane
ALL WELCOME

These details are also on our website at www.qmsdnug.org.

RSVP
An immediate rsvp by email to mike@fitzsimon.com.au will help with planning.

————
Brisbane/Qld software developers may also be interested in these upcoming events:

  • Qld SQL Server User Group, Thu 22 Feb 07, Rob Risetto - SQL Server Performance Analysis
  • Code Camp Oz - Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Sat 31 Mar & Sun 1 Apr 07 - I’ll be there.

I didn’t win $20m in the Lotto last night.

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

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I shared a lotto ticket with some friends in last night’s $20m Gold Lotto draw.  We didn’t win.  Anything.  This makes me every bit the millionaire I was at this time yesterday; that is, not at all.  This also correlates with last week’s reading, and the one before, etc.  So no surprises there.  However, I was reminded of the story of poor old “Joe” who had a run of bad luck…

Joe’s story

Joe lost his job and prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”

Soon Joe couldn’t keep up his car payments and his car was repossessed.  Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”

Eventually Joe couldn’t keep up his house mortgage payments and his family was evicted.  Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”

When he was at his lowest, Joe’s daughter contracted a serious disease and Joe spent every cent and borrowed more for medical treatment.  Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”

Finally God responded with a booming voice from Heaven, “Joe, help me out here. Buy a goddamn ticket.”

The only time I didn’t want to win, I won!

I haven’t been a big winner, gambling wise, in the past.  (Although it could be said that I’m ahead on the health insurance in recent years.) However I do remember winning in Las Vegas when I didn’t want to…

I was holidaying with my wife and three sons and our travel agent had booked us into The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas; Classic, famous old casino, brilliant location, dirt cheap because everything is subsidised by gamblers.  $19 a night for the room!  Of course, gambling was everywhere.  The restaurant at breakfast had as many staff handing out lotto cards as waiting on tables.

As we went back to our room after breakfast, past all these bright spangly machines, I thought I’d be clever and demonstrate to the kids that gambling was for losers.  I thought, I’ll just stick a dollar in this machine, lose it and the kids will learn a short but valuable lesson.  How unlucky was I?  The damn machine paid out.  Aargh!  Not big time, mind you.  It was only about $20.  But I had to keep playing just to show that the house always wins.

After a short while, I was well advanced on my mission to lose the $20 when I was tapped on the shoulder.  A lady in a uniform accompanied by a large unsmiling gentleman in a suit said, “Sir, you do realise that in the state of Nevada, it is an offence to participate in gambling within sight of children?  I had to abort my mission at about $5up.  How unlucky did I say I was?

Las Vegas got me again.

A couple of years later, I was visiting the US on business.  My mate and I finished up one Friday afternoon in San Diego and our next appointment was Monday morning in Los Angeles.  One of us asked “What are we up to this week-end?“  Answer: “I know.  Let’s drive up to ‘Vegas and catch a show!“  We drove all day Saturday.  (Memo: next time, stick to the Interstate Highways.  Don’t drive cross-country like we did. Although, it was interesting to see Palm Springs which we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.)

Anyhow, as we drove towards Las Vegas, we passed all these billboards advertising Las Vegas $19 a night!  Yeah, baby!  That was for us!  Sadly, as the billboards whizzed by, we didn’t read the fine print… Tuesday Only!

Yep, if you show up “on spec.” in Las Vegas on a Saturday night, be prepared to be ripped off.  You cannot buy a Saturday night’s accommodation anywhere in Las Vegas.  You must buy a two-night package (either Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday) and prices start at $250!  (This was the early ’90s.)

My mate and I found a reasonable room at a Dude Ranch some 40km out of town.  We saw our show, lost a few dollars on the slot machines and just crashed after our big day out.  As we drove out of town, my mate said, “There’s the best view of Las Vegas.  The one in the rear view mirror

It wasn’t all bad though.  Just before the California border, we stopped at another casino for their Sunday morning All You Can Eat Breakfast for 19 cents!  Sponsored by loser gamblers, of course.