The Ramblings of the Millahtime Man

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Some things we take for granted

I recieved a forward yesterday. It was a little older and many people may have seen it before but it really talked about some things we Americans along with many others take for granted. It's really something to read and think about....

An open letter to America from one European
Americans kept Europeans free to disagree

From: James Black, Wychwood Park, Cheshire, England

Dear America,

You quirky mix of 280 million misfits that have somehow blended into the strongest nation in the world, I write to offer you four apologies and two vows.

1) I, James Black, a European passport holder whose parents are Scottish,whose wife is English, and whose four children are free to be whatever they may want to be (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation), am ashamed for pointing out to a colleague while visiting your country a few days ago that Winston Churchill was wrong when he said the biggest difference between Britain and the United States was the fact we both spoke the same language -- and instead, telling him that the real difference between our peoples was actually about 100 pounds per person.

2) I, who work as a journalist with the Daily Mail, one of Britain's national newspapers, and (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) is able to say exactly what he wants whenever he wants without fear of death or imprisonment, would also like to apologise for saying to the same colleague that many of the Americans I met were far less sophisticated and worldly than Europeans.

3) I, James Black, a man born free of social or physical shackles and chains, who is able to travel around the world and visit other countries and who (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) is able to converse, discuss, even argue with people from other nations, would like to apologise for mocking your president and your political system.

Your president may not be the sharpest knife in the cutlery set, but I now understand he and the good people of the United States operate not just from a high intellectual stance, but also from the heart -- a heart that knows the difference between good and evil. And importantly, your president was smart enough to have picked the best to sit with him at the world table.

4) I, whose friends, family and colleagues are allowed to set up home, take a job, even run for politician, in any part of the European Union (directly because of the sacrifice of your nation) without being rounded up because of their religion or shot on the spot for their place of birth would finally like to apologise for the biggest mistake the people of my continent have ever made -- their total lack of respect for the greatest friend they will ever have -- the United States of America.

My anger at some of my fellow Europeans is more than palpable. I hear the self-centered, cowardly, and just plain annoying words thrown out by old-minded -- old world -- so-called leaders of the Free World.

I may have made fun of America and Americans, but deep down I know this is only friendly banter between the greatest of friends -- and friends who should give their all to each other when called upon to do so. So I, whose grandfather fought in both World Wars and had the good humour to suggest the Americans were late for both events, but the sense to point out they ensured victory when they finally did show up, make my first vow:

1) I will never forget or dishonour the amazing and courageous sacrifice of the people of the United States in coming to the aid of the world over the past ten decades. The men and women who left peace and prosperity in a land of plenty to face bullet and shrapnel on the beaches of Normandy and around the World.

2) I will honour the debt my small island nation owes for your unswerving devotion to aiding our continued freedom. Your help when we stood small and alone against the plague of Nazi aggression. Your assistance in making us strong when the battle was finished and the peace began, and your protection from a colder enemy in the decades that followed. I have stood, and I will stand again, with my own family, in places such as the cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, an eternal resting place for over 10,000 teen and twenty-something Americans who gave over ALL their future so that I and my children could have a future today, and I will again pledge my eternal gratitude.

3) I, James Black, a man who simply wants his children to live in a future where all good and constructive things are possible, a future where we can discover, invent, enjoy, without fear of fanatics or madmen or the weapons and pain they may wreak, pledge my assistance to the United States in its fight against evil. This pledge is not some brainwashed verse, but based on the honourable history and proven friendship the United States has with Europe. Further, it is based on the fact that the people and leaders of the United States have the foresight to see the world, even life itself, is futile
without someone to love, things to build and create, and things to look forward to -- and none of these things are possible in a world awash with nuclear, chemical and biological arms controlled by those who despise the life we lead.

I am one person, but there are millions like me who thank the USA and wish your nation and your people all the best over the next few months -- and will be there by your side when the times get tough.

Yours with all my gratitude,

James Black, Wychwood Park, Cheshire, England

P.S.: It is said that today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. You should be proud as a nation that you have something to do with the fact it didn't turn out so badly after all -- nor should it again.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Rules about Men

While I was traveling last week I was talking to a buddy of mine and his girlfriend asked one of those questions one should never ask. They shouldn't ask because they won't like the answer one bit. So, we came up with a few rules that women should know, never ask about and just accept.

1) Men will masturbate even when they are getting laid (possibly more often)

2) They will imagine themselves with her friends while doing #1

3) Men will look at other women. It has nothing to do is his girl or if the other woman is better looking. It will just happen.

None of these mean a man will cheat or is even more inclined. Every straight man does this. Even if they don't admit it.

I'm sure there will be more to come. Most likely after a long night at the bar.

On a side note... Congrats to the Pistons for tearing LA a new one. I never thought Phil Jackson deserved to be the winingest pro coach of all time. And the Pistons Rock!!!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Understand how Prognostics Works

Prognostics is actually a pretty simple concept in principal. It's the implementation that becomes the hard part.

When a failure happens to something like a transmission there are signs first. If, say, a gear were going to break then before the break there would be a change in, say, vibration. This could start happening hours or even days before the break. The vibration would be a sympton of a tiny crack in the gear that would slowly expand until the break. The idea is to detect these "small" or "incipient" faults, in this case the crack, and know what this means to the gear. Here is a little chart to show when this happens...

Prognostics Diagnostics

"small" or
"incipient" fault          Failure



If you know that the vibration means a break is going to occur then you have detected the transmission failure before it fails. The next part is knowing how long until it fails. Knowing enough about the transmission and how the vibration is that is being caused my the crack the time can be plotted until the break.

The hard part is putting all of this together on something. Knowing where to mount the sensors and what the different signals mean to a level of detail to predict when the failure will happen consistantly and accurately. But, it has been done, some universities teach about it, the DoD has invested in it and it is being done all over the world.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Prognostics - Predicting Failures Before They Happen

Imagine you are driving down the road, your transmission breaks and you are stuck dead in the road. You're frustrated, plans are all messed up and have to get a tow truck to take it to a repair shop. Not fun and a definite pain.

Now, Imagine that a few hours before your transmission broke you got a warning saying that it was going to break in a few hours. You would then drive it to a repair shop and make other arrangements for your day. You wouldn't have to get a tow truck or be stuck dead by the road.

The idea is not to diagnose the problem after it happens but to predict the failure before it happens. Technology like this is being developed and it's called Prognostics. A simple useful definition would be:

Prognostics -– Actual material condition assessment which includes predicting and determining the useful life and performance life remaining of components by modeling fault progression (courtesy of the Joint Strike Fighter Program)

Now that diagnostics has become so advanced and processing power is up so that large math equations take no time to solve on embedded applications; prognostics technology is taking off.

The idea is to monitor the physical condition of a system. Then when changes occur you know how those changes affect the remaining life of a component. For this you can (not easily but possibly very accurately) predict how much life there is left in the component.

A simple example of this is on some newer cars. On some cars there is an indicator to tell how much useful life there is in your oil. This is many times displayed as a percentage. The idea is that instead of changing it every 3000 miles you do it based on the condition of the oil. What if your oil was still good after 3000 miles? Then changing it would be a waste of time, oil and money for the user. Someone who speeds a lot vs someone who is a conservative driver will have different oil conditions for the same amout of miles. If your oil is still good after 3000 miles why change? Why not wait until the oil is no longer in good condition.

Prognostics is a new technology frontier where many different technologies work together. More to come....lots more.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Another Dating Crash and Burn

On Friday night I introduced my buddy to this girl. They hit it off really well. We stayed at the bar for over 4 hours and they even made date plans for the following Monday. At the end of the night he walked her to the car and even got a good night kiss. The next day it went all wrong.....

In the middle of the day on Saturday she called him to say she had a great time. While he was talking to her he got another call. He quickly talked to the other person and came back. But, he told this new girl that the woman he had just talked to was an ex-booty call that was just sex and now they are friends but nothing else. (Way to much info the day after you meet a girl)

My girl put the move this way. It turned him looking like a steak dinner with the works on a nice plate to looking like a steak that had been thrown on a trash can lid. Looks good if your still hungry.

Then, she had plans with one of her girl friends for the day on Saturday. He tried talking her into canceling on her girlfriend and moving up seeing her to that day. Asking a girl she just met to cancel on one of her girls is a no-no.

And finially, He called her like 4 times the day after he met her. That is over doing it. He got overzelous and scared her off.

3 Strikes and Your Out.

In a matter of a few hours he managed to go from being golden with her to her not wanting to talk to him again. I even tried to tell him what not to do. Everything I told him not to do he did. Ah well, another one bites the dust

Friday, June 04, 2004

Cure A Hangover

I am sitting here with a bit of a hangover this morning wonding how can I nip this thing so I can have the energy for another night of madness. It's been awhile since I had one but, that's how it can go when your at the bar and all the friends are egging each other on. So, here are some good links I found about how to get rid of the hangover....

So You Wanna Cure A Hangover? - All around information - Need I say more
From The UK

Also, those pills as seen on TV don't really work. If you read the label they say to drink a glass of water after every 2 beers or so. If you drink the water you are stopping the dehydration effect.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Fight Against US Patent Office

After reading yesterday about how Microsoft just recieved a patent for double clicking your mouse I got a little pissed. How can something that has been out for so long with all the prior art get a patent approved?

I also know that the US Patent Office has been approving patents with prior art for some time especially in the area of software. It seems that there needs to be some big reform there. They either have out dated policies, are under staffed, are inappropriately staffed or some combination of all of these.

These patents on software with prior art seem to mostly (at least from what I have seen) been by big corperations who have the money and power to use it to squash the little guy.

Microsoft even has gone so far as to say they will use this patent portfolio to make money. So, they patent things with prior art then go after other companies (easily the small ones) and make money on it. That is CRAP!!!!!

I even just went back to the article I read about Microsoft and the double click patent and the story has been removed for some reason. A day after I read it.

I believe we need to contact our congress people (have to stay PC) and senators and let them know we need the reform. Public outcry can get reactions.

There is a petition online that deals with software patents. I don't know if I agree with the course of the petition. It may be asking too much but it's a place to start. It's the Petition Against Software Patents. I encourage everyone to sign it. We need reform.

Patents weren't designed to be tied up in the legal system. They were designed to protect those who created. Not for lawyers to make a lot of money getting in place and fighting. Or to have the big guy squash the little guy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Jenn on Dating

Jenn who is the first comment to my blog from yesterday said..

I feel that anyone who needs to meet girls or court girls according to a list of rules has no game to start with and shouldn't even be dating for the sheer fact that they must have social issues.

She and I also exchanged many other emails yesterday about this. She doesn't think someone should follow a list of rules. But....

If a guy calls too much she wouldn't give him the time (reason for 2 day rule)

If a guy isn't confident with her he doesn't stand a chance

If a guy has bad hygiene then she wouldn't give him the time of day

She is in to fashion a bit and if a guy notices something like cute shoes it's big points

She says that if guys follow these rules it's bad. But she expects guys to do all these things anyway. So, if you just do them or if you follow the rules but don't say then it's the same result. What she likes.

I think the biggest plus for the rules is well....they worked on Jenn.

You do those things and follow any "rules" to force yourself to not call to often and notice the little psychological things that give that little extra edge when you first start dating.

If they didn't work they wouldn't have lasted as long as they have and have such a following. I have followed them and they work.

As far as the anonymous comment from yesterday. Well, the idea isn't to let her trample you but to get in her head.

Jenn is now blogging. Check her out at

Oh, and that is her real God given name. Lucky girl.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

How even Nerds can get Women

Over the last 7 years I have worked either for an internet service provider or now as an engineer. One thing I have noticed is how many of the guys (self proclaimed nerds) I have worked with can't seem to get many women.

I come from a slightly different background than most engineers/IT guys. I was in a fraternity (don't hold that against me), sports, wild social scene and have never had to many problems with women.

There are many reasons that guys have trouble with women but with a few changes it is pretty easy to get on the right road. And no, the changes have nothing to do with personality.

1) The first thing when you meet a woman is how you look. Most women notice clothes. There are many different styles of fashion, so for clothes, as long as they go together should pretty much be fine (For years I always consulted either my sister or a neighbor girl on my outfits. I have no fashion sense of my own.) Also, make sure you dress well. Those faded, now stone washed, jeans that are ten years old with a t-shirt or polo shirt you would wear to work won't usually cut the mustard.

2) Hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth, shower, smell good (not like you have been gaming for 2 days and havn't moved from your seat). This will make for a much better first impression. Women notice how men smell. If you smell good women will associate you with a good smell and they will remember that.

3) Confidence. This is one of the hardest things. Women always seem like they may want the bad guy. This isn't true. The bad guy has confidence and that is what they really like. It is something that should never be forgotten. Confidence.

4) When your talking with a woman keep much of the topic on her. That will make her feel important and when you repeat things back you show that you were paying attention. Being good at conversation is a very important thing. It's one of those topics every woman either brags about to her friends or complains about to her friends.

Now, for a few date tips:

1) Do for her. By this I mean to open the door for her (including the car door), help her with her coat and be sure that when you sit down that she sits first. Also, when walking on stairs you are on the bottom side and when walking down the street you are on the street side.

2) If your at dinner then you take the seat facing the wall. This will curb you from looking around and keep your attention on the lady of the evening.

3) If you give her compliments then keep them to a few and tell her things like you like her outfit or point out something nice about her shoes.

4) Talk to her. Good conversation is what will keep her around. Ever wonder why there is the term 'Personality Guy' and not 'Personality Girl'. It's because looks aren't as important to women and they key in on personality.

A couple notes:

1) The 2 Day Rule. There used to be the 3 day rule when calling a woman but now it's 2 days. After a date, wait 2 days to call. After you get a number wait 2 days to call. Then you call every 2 days unless it gets serious or there is some other special reason. Plan every 2 days to call though.

2) If you meet her at a bar don't stay by her side all night. Talk to her for a little bit then go back to her friends. This way you don't overwhelm her and leave her wanting more. Just remember to say goodbye before you leave.

3) Confidence. Once again be confident. It is so important I am saying again. Even if your not normally confident be confident with her. Fake it if you have to.

I have a friend who is 25, overweight and heavily balding. He always knows how to dress (and it's not GQ) and what to say. He can walk into a bar and within 10 minutes have women bringing their friends over to talk to him. There is nothing special about him. He just puts in that little extra effort.

Beyond these basic steps there are a million other things you can do that fit each person different and things to look for with women. I would suggest picking up a mens magazine (and playboy or penthouse don't count). My recommendation is Mens Health. It seems to give the best all around advice.