Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rules for Developing Safety Critical Code

Since I've spent quite a bit of time at JPL, some of it doing formal specification and verification, this article in the latest IEEE Computer caught my eye.

It's a short essay giving ten "rules" for safety critical software development. Some of it reminds me of cleanroom software engineering (with the exception of Rule 10 :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

UC bad news, whale good news

Two unrelated things:

The chancellor (many universities would call it "president") of the University of California, Santa Cruz jumped to her death. What do you think of the excerpt below from the local newspaper article?

But many have said Denton was unhappy at UCSC, reported John Wilkes, recently retired director of the Science Communication Program.

"No one could say quite why — it was just a bad fit," he said. "She might have been unused to dealing with people outside of science and engineering, because she never had to deal with them before."

How does a UC campus choose a chancellor? UC Merced is losing both their founding chancellor and provost. Here is a brief description of the chancellor-selection process. Also, UC Merced is losing their provost (to become president of UNLV!) 1 July.

I previously posted about UC woes.

Changing subjects completely, adding to my previous postings about whales, here is a video of a whale examining some underwater equipment. But where was the underwater equipment? That video says Perth, while a rival YouTube site says Galveston, Texas :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Big Island coastline

I previously posted a link to images of the entire California coastline. Now someone has done the same thing for the Big Island of Hawaii. You can read an article from the Star Bulletin, or go directly to the photographer's page.

It's a little annoying since you need to click on either "Aerial Photographs" or "every square inch of coastline". But after you pick a spot to start, you can go forward and back just like the California coastline website.

I like this quote from the article:

Powers flew his single-engine Piper Cherokee 160 at 500 feet, holding his Nikon D100 camera out the window and firing off pictures of the nearly 300 miles of coastline.

"It took some practice. You have to do two things really well: You have to be able to take good photos and be a good pilot," Powers said. "You can't focus too much on either one."

If you are, say, going to attend a fascinating workshop on IT planning at HICSS in January, you might want to stay at the conference hotel. You can see it by clicking on "Waikoloa Resort" on the Big Island map.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The one-page FastCompany article about picturephones that I mentioned earlier is now available.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A soccer ball with curves

Baseball isn't the only game with curve balls (see my previous posts here and there). The new soccer ball is driving World Cup goalkeepers crazy.

Speaking of science, why does your favorite football (not soccer) coach make decisions unsupported by the data? Have the coach read this :) Speaking of stats, Malc recently blogged about NBA statistics and the "worth" of players.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My three-time alma mater, the University of California

The University of California is getting some unflattering press lately, first about compensation for executives, then the ethnicity of UCLA's entering class, and now disappointing news of UC Merced's enrollment. I've maintained that the regents made the wrong choice for the UCM site. This quote from the completelrdp.pdf document on is interesting:

The selection of the Lake Yosemite site came after a review of more than 85 sites in the San Joaquin Valley. Finalist sites were in Merced, Madera and Fresno Counties. Among the criteria leading to the final selection were available housing, commercial services and cultural amenities, as well as access to metropolitan areas, community support, availability of water, and an estimation of environmental effects associated with the site. The site proposed in Merced County also had the significant advantage of being owned by the Virginia Smith Trust, which funds higher education scholarships for local high school graduates.

Never underestimate free land!

In any case, an editorial in today's Fresno Bee about UC Merced's enrollment problems talks about how UCM needs to be more fun :)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Telecommuting cutback

Is HP swimming upstream by cutting back on telecommuting? An interesting quote from a San Jose Mercury News article:

But one of HP's former IT managers, who left the company in October, said a few employees abused the flexible work arrangements and could be heard washing dishes or admitted to driving a tractor during conference calls about project updates.

So far, Fresno State's almost 10 year old telecommuting policy continues.