Really cool

So, that box set of Simon & Garfunkel Columbia CD’s that I bought? It has some neat packaging, especially for an old fart like me.

Instead of jewel cases, the CDs are in miniature sleeves that duplicate the LP sleeves.

And the CD labels are duplicates of the red labels on the LPs, with the Columbia logos and everything.

One last jury duty note

Even though there’s 200K+ living in SW Placer Co., in many ways we’re still a rural county.

The incidents in the charge? Occurred on January 1, 2007.

Yes, that’s right – motions, etc., started on Monday. That’s 4 weeks from the initial arrest.

Apparently we do like to follow that whole “speedy trial” thing that’s mentioned in the Constitution.

And also, Judge O’Flaherty (warning: PDF document containing dry legalese) has had some controversy in the past. And I can see him saying this, based on his demeanor yesterday. And even the Sac Bee opposed his re-election in 2006 (ignore the Oakland Tribune markings). I now recall a bit of controversy about this during the run-up to last year’s elections.

Well, so much for my civic duty

So…I show up at the Auburn court house for the 10:30 report time. We file in and we are given a few particulars – it’s a DUI + drug possession + drug paraphernalia. And we fill out the jury questionnaires. Yay! I get to write about my first cousin the ex-con/porn star! They pick the first 18 (of about 60), and send us out so the judge can hear some motions.

As we’re ready to go back in at 11:15 and start voir dire, the jury for the currently on-going trial in the department comes back with a verdict, so we’re told to report back at 1PM. Well…1 3/4 hours in Auburn, or head home for lunch?

I pick the latter. Cheri arrives from school not too long after I return.

So…back in to the courtroom at 1PM. 7 of the 18 are bounced, they’re replaced, and after interviewing about 28, we have 12 jurors + an alternate. And it turns out I know the alternate – he was in my German II class a couple of years ago.

The judge, in case anyone cares, is Joe O’Flaherty. A very nice fellow, tried to make things as easy as possible for us. He even invited those of us who weren’t picked to e-mail him with questions about the trial next week (excluding facts), if we were interested – he maintains what I assume he used in his 2000 (re-?)election campaign. The bailiff was also in good spirits making jokes of the fact that we don’t want to be there!

Even though I wasn’t really interested at first, I think I would have found it interesting to sit on the jury. Can’t say I’m disappointed, but it would have been different.

And I’m excused until next January 1 (in Placer Co., it’s by calendar year, so if you get called in December, tough.)

Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

Edited to fix some really strange sentence placement.

Fun with numbers

OK, the old high school algebra came in handy today.

I’m working with what in IBM z/Architecture land we call packed decimal (see the section labelled “Packed BCD”) fields. These are fields where 2 digits are stored in each byte, except for the last, where the sign is stored in the low-order nybble. (Yes, nybble.)

I was wondering how many comparisons I have to generate to create all cases with implied decimal points. So I started small by using 15 digits, which is the largest that fits in a doubleword (8 bytes). I used the formula for determining the sums of the first n positive integers – in this case, 16 (15.0 to 15.15 is 16) then subtracting one because the smallest has 2 possibilities (1.0, 1.1):

16
Σ k = n2 + n
k=1      2

which gives us (256 + 16) / 2 or 272 / 2 = 136, then subtract 1 for the non-existent case or 135.

From there we go to the number of combinations taken 2 at a time:


Ck =       n!    
      k! (n - k)!


or 135! / 2! * 133!, and by simplification we get (135 * 134) / 2 or 18090 / 2 or 9045. Ouch. That’s a lot of data to analyze and look for patterns in generated fields.

But what’s that, I hear the zero of you who are also IBM mainframe programmers cry. The maximum length of a packed field is 16 bytes, so your test case really should be 31 digits. Yes, thank you very much, now go away. Because we now get…

(1024 + 32) / 2 or 1056 / 2 or 528, then again subtract 1 for 527. And now the combinations are 527! / 2! * 525!, or (527 * 526) / 2, or 277202 / 2 or 138601.

Ugh. Not only will it be a lot of work to generate the DEFINE TABLE, but generating the SQL calls…I’ll have to write a program generator to do it right. And I don’t think I want to take the time right now to code such a beast. Although it would be fun. But there’s other work stuff I should be doing

Il est la faute de lomaprieta

Twice in the past week, she’s had selections from Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water in her current music (or “actuel musique”, according to my journal settings).

BOTW was one of my favorite albums growing up – my parents bought it for me, at age 9. But sadly this is not an album I bought when CD’s came out.

So, after noting “Cecelia” and “The Boxer” in lomaprieta‘s play list, I started thinking “wow, I really should get that on CD”. So on Friday over to amazon.com I go. It’s $9 or thereabouts. I thought, wow, I should get some of their others – they’re all around $11-12. I even dropped them into my cart, but didn’t pull the trigger for some reason. (Probably because I’m looking at dropping about 30€ at amazon.fr for a 3 CD set of Les Enfoirés.)

Fast forward (there are only 2 on a race) to a quick trip to Costco on Saturday which turned into a $450 (!!!) shopping spree (but we saved $65 with coupons, plus I still had $83 on a gift card), I saw a box set of S&G’s Columbia recordings. In case you aren’t aware, these are Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (Sandra Lee’s head just spun out of control), Bookends and BOTW.

I’ve heard a few songs off of the other albums, but I’m looking forward to hearing the whole song sets.

Cheri had to go to the dentist this morning to get a filling replaced. No fun.

Ah, back to work. Sometimes I wish I was independently wealthy.

Oh, the humanity!

If anyone needs to know why we have global warming and a hole in the ozone layer, no one need look no further than this video of the opening of the 1990 Miss America Pagent. The hair spray and the polyester outfits provide enough evidence.

This is semi-noteworthy only because Miss Tennessee is Lisa Robertson, who’s been a show host at QVC for many years.