Thursday, December 7, 2017

76 Years Ago

Greetings, Programs:

Yes, once again it is "Pearl Harbor Day" - 76 years ago at about six hours ago the Imperial Japanese Fleet composed of six aircraft carriers came in from a bit over 250 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor, launched several hundred specialized torpedo planes modified for the shallow, 40-foot waters of the harbor, hundreds of dive bombers, fighter planes and standard bombers and, basically, carried out a well-planed and well-thought-out attack on what should have been a heavily defended island. (Yes, that was a rather long, run-on sentence to tell about a rather long, run-on attack.)  Americans called it a "Sneak Attack."  Maybe...  But it was, militarily, a well-planned surprise-attack that the stupid Washington Japanese diplomats failed to declare war on the USA prior to the attack.

Most of us might have seen the movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and think that the words mean "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger" as Hollywood said that it meant.  However, probably Mitsuo Fuchida, the leader of the first wave of Japanese fighters, sent these words back to his superiors on the aircraft carrier Akagi. The word tora (虎) does, indeed, mean "tiger" in Japanese, but in this case it is thought to mean an abbreviated radio code word, an acronym for TOtsugeki RAigeki (突撃雷撃), literally meaning "lightning attack," indicating to his superiors that the objective of complete surprise had been achieved.  Which, of course, would have meant nothing to any interception by any listening American code breakers.  Shades of Blitzkrieg! 

Fortunately all of the USA aircraft carriers were out to sea looking for the Japanese fleet but the Japanese fleet was much farther north than the USA carriers were looking for them.  Also, some have pointed out that had the six Japanese carriers caught the American fleet out at sea the losses to America would have been far greater than the 2,700+ or so men lost in Pearl Harbor; the battle ships would all have sunk to the bottom of the ocean rather than being raised and repaired and the wounded would have died at the bottom of the ocean as well.  If we had to survive an attack, it was better at Pearl than out in the Pacific.

Anyway, just something to remember on December 7th each year.  


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Climb Mount Niitaka


Many of you who are WW II buffs know the code that was sent back after the successful attack on Pearl Harbour; "Tora! Tora! Tora!"  There was even a "fairly accurate" movie of the same name.  However, during that movie, you might have seen, or heard, the phrase, "Niitakayama Nobore" or, in English, "Climb Mount Niitaka".  This was the code words sent to Japanese Admiral Nagumo to open his Top Secret documents that would direct him to attack Pearl Harbor (American spelling this time).  This was OOA December 2nd (today) or about 76 years ago today.

At that point in time the Japanese fleet was cruising in the northern Pacific under a heavy squall of storms making it impossible for the American flattops to find them.  (The American aircraft carriers from Pearl Harbor were all out at sea looking for the Japanese fleet at that time which explains why they were not in dock at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked five days later.)

Anyway, many Americans have called it a "Sneak Attack."  No such thing.  It was just a total failure on the part of clumsy diplomats to formally declare war prior to the attack.  Like President Trump has said many tims, you never tell the enemy when and where you are going to attack nor when and where you are going to withdraw.  That is just plain stupid.  Why would the Japanese tell us that they were going to attack on December 7th and then attack on December 7th?  OK, the Geneva convention did say that you should at least declare war first before attacking another country but, looking back, did Germany declare war before attacking Poland?  Sure.  15 minutes before.  Or was it 30 minutes before?  Big deal.

Anyway, look forward to the December 7th posting. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" might have meant "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!" but did it really?  More on that later...


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Graham Glass

Greetings, Programs:

[dateline 171109:1500CST]
Just thinking about Graham today.  Don't know why...  I was just sitting in my LaZyBoy this morning drinking my morning coffee, having my usual morning Einstein Blueberry Bagel that my Spousal Unit picks up for me every Tuesday on her way to the Irving Art Association and he crossed my mind.  I remembered that either he drove me home or I drove him home after a JavaMUG meeting at the Sun offices one Wednesday evening.  [I "think" that the meting might have been about Voyager that evening - maybe not - I don't really remember.  Maybe GreG can correct me one this one.] All that I can remember of that evening was that we had a remarkable chat on the way home about rulebased systems and how they might fit into what he was thinking about doing with a future project.  (I don't think he ever got around to doing anything with rulebased systems nor AI nor the future project for that matter.)

All of that is neither here nor there but I did go look up where he is now and what happened to him after that evening.  At that time he was still with Object Space.  It seems, after reading his bio, that what he should have done back then was sell out his shares of Object Space after his dispute with the board (if he could have done so) and gone his on wonderful way.  He has a remarkable mind and could have done anything with the proper capitalization and good business team behind him, much like many other high-IQ techies that I have been fortunate to meet in my long and varied career to date.

Bottom line: Whatever you are doing, if you are not enjoying it then you are either doing it wrong or you are doing the wrong thing.  [What an old cliche'!] Find something that you truly enjoy doing and do it to the the very best of your ability, even it that something is just fly fishing, brewing beer, making wine, crafts, painting, wood working, programming (whether rulebase stuff or security or special applications or GUI stuff - whatever) or biking or whatever.  Find the best parts, even the "commercial" parts, and build a business out of it that exploits the absolute best - the real craftsman part.  If it is teaching then find out what part of teaching really reaches others.  If it is the political spectrum, then be the best, non-corrupt politician in the country, NOT what exists in today's culture!

I cannot teach children nor can I teach high school students - and rarely college students.  But I can teach those who want to learn rulebase systems (RBS) so that is something that I love.  Unfortunately, a lot of folks say that they want to learn RBS but it is only so that they can charge the Fortune 500 companies lots of money for that knowledge.  Those folks I cannot teach. They want the QuAD (Quick And Dirty) way to learn and I have not found that way yet.

Most BRMS companies try to teach a one-week school followed by another one-week school a year later but I have found that those who have followed that path in those schools have learned a monkey-see, monkey-do kind of programming for RBS, not anything of any kind of depth.  When I am working on-site and I ask them to actually read a book outside of class or outside of the working environment, they look at me as though I have lost my mind. Or they take the book home and never read it and I get it back when the gig is up, untouched and unread.

Like I said back on the first of the month - these days I am writing on almost anything.  Graham memories got me started on this so I can blame him for it.  :)  So, from GG to RBS to QuAD teaching methods.  Have a Happy Whatever you are having this week.