Thursday, September 18, 2008

TKD forms

Along with the sword demo and the board breaking, we needed to do 3 choreographed forms. Palgwe Paljang, Taeguk Paljang, and Kumgang. We were prepared to do several more and the first two here were called somewhat randomly among those that we prepared for. Just so you know, I was "spot on".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Breaking boards

August 30, 2008. We had to break 7 boards in 4 or more stations. For myself I decided to do this with 4 stations. Only the second one (side kick) was a single board. The other 3 stations were 2 boards each. "Nailed" em.

Sword Play

Our sword demo form, August 30, 2008.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Working on the blog agent

I'm working on Phase 2 a little bit at a time because I'm learning how to do this. I want to make the interface easy to understand and use. So I present each blog in a selection list. If the list is longer than the (current) display of up to 10 items, then there will be a scroll bar on the right of the list. For test purposes I am only playing with 6 blogs in the list.

Here is a sample picture.

When the list is shown, there will be an asterisk to the left of the blogs that the agent thinks that you haven't read. This will be based on a comparison of your saved date and title for that blog and the actual most recent post date and title. The list is in a "Courier" font so it looks more tidy. The leftmost column is an asterisk or a blank.

Only one item in the list may be selected at any time (as you can see, I selected "marcelymca"). Once selected, the user can click the "View blog" or "Save blog data" button. When the "View" button is clicked then I may try to pop up a new browser window with that blog (again...still learning). However, since by that point I will have ALREADY collected the blog web page contents, this would be a little wasteful/slow. So, instead I may just pop up a different text window and paste in the web page contents. When the "Save" button is clicked then the most recent post data (date and title) will be saved into the file (and the asterisk should go away, indicating you are current on that blog).

For those of you that are reading this, interested, and get the whole idea/concept, let me know what you think.

The job hunt (only for humor)

I had a job working in an Orange Juice factory, but I got canned. I couldn't concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a Lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.

After that, I tried to be a Tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it - mainly because it was a sew-sew job.

Next, I tried working in a Muffler Factory, but that was too exhausting.

Then, I tried to be a Chef - figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn't have the thyme.

I attempted to be a Deli Worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.

My best job was being a Musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.

I studied a long time to become a Doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

Next, was a job in a Shoe Factory. I tried but I just didn't fit in.

I became a Professional Fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job working for a Pool Maintenance Company, but the work was just too draining.

So then I got a job in a Workout Center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

I finally got a job as a Historian - until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working in Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hello bloggers!


Been awhile since my last blog post. I have some bad news, some indifferent news, and some good news.

Bad news:
On April 22, I was laid off after 21 years of continuous employment. Company downsizing. Weak economy. Who knows what else goes into those decisions.

Indifferent news:
I'm searching for a new position. It is a pain because opportunities are few and far between, and hardly anyone gives you the courtesy of acknowledging your resume and/or telling you whether you are turned down. So it is a lot of looking, applying, and waiting. There MAY be something positive later this week, though.

Good news:
1. I took and passed 2 online programming courses. The first was in Java and the second was Perl. These two are used a lot these days and I felt that everything I used for 21 years was mostly stone age. So, to get a new position I needed to become more current.
2. On August 30, I did my final test to earn third degree black belt. It was a grueling test but I did very well. Will receive the belt in December.
3. To get real (non-classroom) experience using Perl and Java, I started writing a program that I call a "blog agent". It will be done in 2 phases and phase 1 is complete.

The blog agent:

If you are like me, you want to keep up with what a lot of people write in their blogs, so you bookmark all your favorite ones and visit them once a day, or every couple of days. If there is nothing new, you go to the next one. Just calling up the web site and scanning manually uses up time. And if there IS indeed nothing new, it is basically wasted time. So, the agent will do all that scanning for me (and perhaps you some day).

Phase 1:

I built a list of my favorite blog sites, keeping the URL, the last read post date, and the last read post title. The program reads the file and builds a table of your blog URLs. Then, for each, it retrieves the web page and finds the most recent blog date and blog title. It compares those to what you have saved. If either the date or title is different, you get a notice, meaning that you should go read that blog.


My test list currently looks like this:

[] [Sunday, January 27, 2008] [The Valance]
[] [Tuesday, August 26, 2008] [Weather]
[] [Friday, July 11, 2008] [WORK]
[] [?] [?]

the individual fields are bracketed.

The output after running the agent looks like this:

[] DATEDIFF TITLEDIFF <=== go read this one.
[] DATEDIFF TITLEDIFF <=== go read this one.

So, as you can see, in this list of 4 blogs, I only should go out and read 2 of them.

Phase 2 is yet to be written, but I want to add interactivity. I intend to present the list as a table of links (and the indicator of which ones should be read). Then, to read a blog, you'd just click on the link and it would show. After you read it and browse back to the table, I want to have a button that you click on to indicate that you have just read the blog. When you do that, it will use the most recent date and title of the blog post, and will overlay the old info in the save file. That way, the NEXT time you run the agent it will do it's work against the items that you have "told it" that you have already read.

At first I wrote this with Perl, but I think the interactivity will be better with Java, because I can get it to run in a browser window by making it a thing called and "applet". We played with applets in the class that I took.

So, now that Phase 1 is complete I can start on Phase 2.

Will put up another post soon on the trials and tribulations of job searching.

So long for now.