What Ever Happened to the Millennium Bug?

Year 2000 Time Bomb Disposal Kit

Year 2000 Time Bomb Disposal Kit (Photo credit: rjw1)

Does any one remember the millennium bug? Back in the late 1990’s the planet was a buzz about  a worldwide catastrophe, “the bug.” Personal computers came into existence in the seventies. At the time, computers possessed limited storage capacity. Programmers allowed only two digits to define a year. After all, in nineteen eighty, who could imagine the world lasting until the year two thousand? Between two thousand, and the limited capacity of early computer memory, no one could imagine that using only two digits to define a year was a problem. Finally in the late nineteen nineties the world became aware. What will happen on New Year’s eve of 1999 when the calendar turns over and it becomes the year 2000?  Will the year 00 mean 1900 or 2000? Imagine the confusion. What would happen to the stock market? What about our savings in the bank? Would we earn the interest of 1900 or the interest of 2000? Worse yet, would those on the verge of retirement in 2000 be set back to 1900 and not be recognized as being born?

The millennium bug caused a rash of business to change out all old computers with new ones that could handle the four digit year. I remember my company racing to check computers to decide if they contained any software that limited the year to two digits. If they identified  a problem they replaced it, or bumped it down to an application where the year was not a factor. The whole world sat on the edge of their seats waiting for the clock to turn, and the computers to crash. It is now twelve years after the fact, and I have yet to hear of a problem related to the millennium bug. What that means is we converted every computer on time, or that the millennium bug was a non-problem.

Today, I hear a lot of discussion about a similar catastrophe, the “fiscal cliff.” What will happen to the economy if we reinstate the Clinton era taxes? Many pundits, Congressmen, Senators, and “we the Sheeple” believe it will destroy the economy and send us into another more deeper recession. Really? Who has any definitive knowledge or facts to back that up? I think it would make a great experiment to let it happen i.e. do nothing to avoid the fiscal cliff. Let the taxes go into effect. It is a democrat’s dream to get all that extra money into the coffers (or trough). Perhaps we would learn once and for all about economics. Is economics a real science, or is it a political folly? If it is a science, the democrats will be proven wrong and the people they profess to protect will suffer. If they are right, economics will be proven more witchcraft than science.

It might be interesting to take a simple poll and see how you feel about this argument. Click on the poll below.

Terror Cell Plans An Attack

      Deep within the thicket behind Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision a meeting of Wabbits from terror groups of every block discussed plans for taking out the Monet Vision. Last Spring they snuck into his yard and tasted the tulips and his prize lilies. He didn’t know what hit him. They forced him to install extensive Wabbit barrier over his lobelias, which made him work four times as hard to pull weeds. Not to mention, each time he discovered a snipped tulip bud or a clipped lily stem his blood pressure went through the roof. The group planned a new assault.

“We have to expand our numbers,” said Ali Bugbuny.

“Yes, but we must also train new recruits in the art of stem tasting,” exclaimed Sadr el Jac.

“What if we change the strategy from tasting to eating the flowers,” asked Yasir Flufytail?

“Hmmmn, not a bad idea” replied Ali.

The ideas flowed all evening. It was late into the night before the terror group finally agreed to a plan.

“It is agreed then, we will begin the campaign on the night of the full moon,” said Ali Bugbuny as he dismissed them, “be careful going home.”

The group hopped through the darkness keeping invisible as they moved through backyards. Usa-Bugbuny stayed under the front yard boxwoods. He sprinted through the open spaces between houses to the end of Brown Drive. Yasir Flufytail speed-hopped through the backyards to Charrington Drive, and Siwee el Waby dashed across the street between lights until he reached cover under a burning bush. One more sprint and I’ll be on Bramble Lane he thought. The others worked their way through the thicket westward to Ginger Lane. All of them swore to keep the plan a secret. They were to move about only under cover of darkness. Their plan would drive Grumpa Joe nuts.

“That was a most productive meeting Ali,” said Sadr el Jac.

“It is the best plan we’ve ever put together. I can’t wait to begin. I’ll see you again under the moon.”

Meanwhile, Grumpa Joe discussed world affairs and gardening over a glass of wine with his friend Al.

“Where have all the Wabbits gone,” asked Grumpa Joe?

“What do you mean, I have plenty of Wabbits in my yard,” said Al.

It is almost June, and I did not see a single Wabbit in the yard. My tulips were beautiful, and the lily’s are strong and tall.”

“I’ll send you some of my bunnies if you wish,” said Al.

“Please don’t.”

“I wonder if the coyote has been roaming through the neighborhood,” said Joe.

“That is a strong possibility Joe, they howl behind my house every night, but I still have lots of wabbits. It is late, I have to get home.” Al backed his car out of Grumpa Joe’s driveway just as Siwee el Waby made his dash across the street. The car lights swung out over him as he ducked under the Burning Bush.

Whew, that was close, he almost saw me. We have to live undercover until it is time to execute the plan. We want Grumpa Joe to believe he has beaten us.

The Wabbit world was abuzz for the remainder of the summer. Young wabbits went to school everyday, and momma wabbits raised more young ones to join them. Parents were careful to teach the youngsters not to go out while in daylight for fear of spoiling the ruse to make Grumpa Joe believe the wabbits were gone from his yard.

Ali Bugbuny recruited Aga and Bushr Bambi to join the plan. The army of invaders grew everyday. New recruits came well trained too.

“It is agreed, we will meet you and the Wabbit army in the invasion of the garden known as the Monet Vision during the full moon of July.”

“Peggy, have you noticed the big gaping hole in the yellow petunia patch?”

“No I haven’t, where?”

“Look there, between the potted geranium and the Coral Bells.”

“Oh, those plants are regenerating,” she said.

“I hope you are right, but it does bear watching.”

Grumpa Joe put the Monet Vision under surveillance. He took note of where the flowers were missing.

“These look cut off to me,” he told Peggy as he watered one night.

“It’s your imagination,” she said.

“We’ll see about that,” Joe replied.

Grumpa Joe sat on the patio sprinkling the flowers after a day of intense heat when he spotted a movement. His gaze froze on the spot. The sun had gone down and only the grey light of dusk remained. He saw a movement at the far corner of the yard. Yep, it’s a Wabbit he thought. I’ll wait to see where he goes.

Aga Bambi sat almost motionless. Only his mouth and nose moved as he chewed on some fresh grass. He couldn’t wait until total darkness as the plan called for. He had to eat something.

Aga sprinted through the Monet Vision into the wetland to the safety of his hutch. Inside the mass of twisted brambles he came face to face with Ali, Sadr, and Yasir. They sat in the darkness waiting for him. Sadr hopped to the entrance and blocked it off, Yasir moved to Aga’s side. Aga faced Ali in the center of a triangle of Wabbits. His escape route blocked, he had no choice but to face the music.

Ali put his nose up against Aga’s and began a Drill Sargent’s tirade.

“You dumb long-ear clown you ruined the plan, what were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry Ali, I was hungry and those Petunias looked so good. Besides, wasn’t that the plan?”

“The plan was to do it in the dark not broad daylight. Did they look and taste good enough to break cover?”

“I was careful, no one saw me.”

“Watch this.” Ali popped a DVD into his command computer. “These were taken this afternoon you dummy.”

The four of them watched as Aga relished a dozen soft-yellow Petunia blossoms before he moved to the deep purple ones. Aga dropped his head and eyes in guilt. The video clearly showed him violating the order.

“As punishment for disobeying an order you are banished from the Cell.”

“Where am I going,” asked Aga?

“To the land of native wildflowers where you will no longer enjoy the juicy and tender fruit of home gardens. Take him away boys.”

Sadr grabbed him by the back of the neck, and Yasir by the fluffy tail. They dragged him off to Prairie Park.

“Okay Yasir, on the count of three.”

They swung him back and forth, and on three they let go of him.  Aga went sailing through the air and landed deep in the tall grass.

Ali sat by himself in Aga’s hutch thinking for a long time. His mind raced through counter measure possibilities. After what seemed like hours an idea came to him. He finally hopped out of the hutch into the darkness of the wetland with only the fireflies lighting the night sky.

“I have to gather the cell and discuss the new plan.”

Oh No, What Did I Do?

IMovie

IMovie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week the landscape man cut the cable to my house, and forced me to look for non-internet avenues of entertainment. Thankfully, the cable provider came out early Monday morning to repair it. By that time, however, I had amused myself with copious quantities of file management activities on the unconnected computer. File management is not my forte, yet I love to look into files that neatly organized. During the past few months I have been diligently converting my old 8mm home movies into viewable videos. Step one involved converting the real film into video. During my brief career as a home movie producer, I shot ten thousand feet of super eight film. That amounts to ten hours of viewing pleasure. The second step transferred the master DVD into a program called iMovie.

I am an amateur when it comes to dealing with new programs, and I fumble through the steps until something finally happens. It is only after many trials that I understand how things work, and the process feels comfortable. During those critical steps to find the comfort zone, I decided to  attack file management with a vengeance.

There are ten projects in my development file and some still need a few hours to complete. Thankfully, I converted four of the films into DVD’s. The remaining six projects are still development files. My movie editing during this period left me with too many saved files cluttering my document file. I attacked the doc file, and trashed movie clip-files which I felt were no longer needed. When completed, I had a tightly organized file structure that made great sense.

This week, after the cable repair, and catching up on my internet activities, I dove into the movies again.

I opened a project titled “Chuck and Ann’s Anniversary Waltz.” This film is among my favorites, and I poured my heart and soul into making something special for my kids. It is the only roll of film I did not shoot. It belonged to my deceased wife Barb. She had a neighbor do the shooting at a party she threw for her parents. Barb didn’t have a projector to view this film, and only saw it a few times. After we married and my filming career began, the film format changed to super eight and I didn’t have a projector to show it with either.

The movie opened normally, the still  pictures and titles came on, and then disaster struck. None of the real movies were there. There were images there, but  no moving pictures. Later I realized these are thumbnails. The movie clips were no longer associated, and were in trash where I had moved them when cleaning house.

My search became a panic. None of the file names or file nomenclature were recognizable to me. I didn’t know enough to understand what was what. There must be an easier way, yes, move to Time Machine and ‘restore’ to a previous point in history. Alas, I found some of the clips, but not all. On a positive note I did learn how to recover from backups, but obviously not well enough to find everything. After hours of searching without success, the decision to reload from the master DVD’s became my last option.

The next lesson learned was that multi-tasking on the computer while the transfer process is going on is not a good thing because not all the clips transferred. It took multiple attempts to reach success, and I kept from touching the computer while the transfer took place..

Finally, at one a.m. after sixteen hours,  “Chuck and Ann’s Anniversary Waltz” was back and working.

Sometimes tidying things up a bit is not the smartest use of time.

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

iMovie

Image via Wikipedia

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  I am living proof that it is possible. This post represents two new tricks.

First, I have learned how to convert my old super-8 home movies into DVD through the magical program iMovie. Second, I’ve added the ability to add audio and video to this BLOG.

The video  above is my first try at making a video and the first try at uploading into this masterpiece of personal aptitude and creativity, Grumpa Joe’s Place.

I have also added a new dimension, Grumpa Joe’s Place Productions, and will soon be boring you with new video’s from the past, and offering full length films for sale.

Following Up With the Movie Version

Last night I followed through on a promise I made to myself about the book “East of Eden.”  I watched the movie to see how accurately Hollywood followed Steinbeck’s work. My grade is a B+. The movie followed the book story quite well. Except for eliminating a central character Lee, adding too much strength to the Sheriff, and changing the ending to shorten the film, the movie told the story well.

The original work is six hundred pages long. I wondered where the movie would start while I was reading. When I finished, I surmised that the script could only cover the last two hundred pages, and that is exactly what happened.

I remember seeing coming attractions for the film which touted James Dean as a powerful new actor. It’s taken  me over fifty years to finally watch the film. James Dean was magnificent in the role of Caleb Trask, a moody young kid who needed answers about his life. His twin brother (not identical) seemed to have it all together, but in the end, the moody kid endures life, and survives the answers he uncovers. His brother, could not deal with the same answers, and loses it He joins the army to fight WWI and dies in action.

I give this film five stars, although a little late. If you haven’t seen it yet, find a copy in the library or rent one and watch. You won’t be sorry.

During the movie I set a new goal, i.e. why not read Dean’s biography, and watch all of his films? The DVD I borrowed from the library came with a second disk, it had Dean’s biography. I enjoyed it as much as I did the film. Dean only made three films before he died, and now I’ve seen two of them. I saw “Rebel without a Cause,” a couple of times. The last film is “Giant.”

The only pleasure missing from this viewing was the company of my grand-daughter Dana. I know we would have had a great time discussing the story and the characters. Oh well.

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