Archive from August, 2005
Aug 5, 2005 - software, technology    No Comments

An "A" for creativity … but …

I came across a new article over at CodeProject, and I couldn’t help myself.  In a nutshell, the author was trying to solve the following problem:  How can I get rid of those irritating ORA-xxxx errors that are thrown when I attempt to INSERT records into the database and the field data violates a key constraint?

I’m all for creative, “out-of-the-box” thinking … but the solution proposed (which would word) is a heck of a lot more work than necessary:  by storing additional information in the database that you check against before you attempt to insert the data.  Not necessary, as you can use those ORA-errors to help you get the job done:  Trap the errors in a PL/SQL exception block and deal with them inside the database.  No additional tables, no additional tests, better scalability.

At any rate, if you’re interested, check out the article.

"… 43 people were injured, but amazingly no one was killed …"

So it was said on Minnesota Public Radio this morning, during a story on the Air France accident in Toronto yesterday.  While it’s great news that no lives were lost, the word “amazingly” struck me as odd in the sentence the anchor was reading.  It was as if there was a bit of disappointment in the fact that even though the plane split in half, that there was fire, lightning, rain, panic, and plenty of fodder for the “experts” to be questioned on (I just love our media:  when there are no more facts than have already been presented, fill the time by asking the same questions to one expert/analyst after another, providing them with their 15 minutes of broadcast fame) … no one died.

I’ve always found the English language both intriguing and amusing, and I’m probably picking nits, but since we are a people who are so focused on the words used (in spite of the meaning … or, maybe, because of the potential multiple meanings and our desire to know exactly what was meant), there are other words what would have had less of a “damn, no blood” feeling.  Such as “fortunately”.  Try this:

“… 43 people were injured and, fortunately, no on was killed …”

No “crap, it’s not a horrendous catastrophe” sentiment.  Ok, ok … someone could argue that “fortunately” is “editorialising”.  I’d argue that “amazingly” is just as much editorialising, but in a negative way.

Such is our species:  we’re drawn to catastrophe, and bored by fortune (unless, of course, that fortune comes in the form of a lottery ticket that we are holding).

Aug 2, 2005 - ideas, tv    No Comments

Reality (TV), the Next Generation

Last night, Hell’s Kitchen, one of the latest reality shows (Gordon Ramsay bloody rocks), finished it’s current season.  Not first food reality show (others including “The Restaurant”, “Into the Fire”, and even “Iron Chef”, depending on what you call “reality”).  And it looks like America’s TV food fetish is just beginning, what with the new sitcom Kitchen Confidential starting this fall (both shows on Fox … coincidence?).  I’m curious what Anthony Bourdain thinks of it (though I’d rather see a show based on Tony’s book, but somehow I don’t think it would have made prime time) … but I digress … today’s subject is reality television.

Now, I find reality television as amusing as the next person (when I have/find time to watch it, usually by accident), and I’ve fought like mad to keep from becoming an addict (I will admit that I really got into Rocco DiSpirito’s “The Restaurant” … for awhile, then it I found myself thinking Rocco an arrogant … well, anyway … I’m digressing again) …

… but I’m afraid that I can’t help myself:  I found myself cooking up the next great American reality series:

Working TitleRoyal Flush

Concept:  One of the greats of Texas Hold’em (Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Chris Moneymaker) take on a cadre of gambler wannabes from a variety of backgrounds (schoolteacher, truckdriver, computer programmer, priest, etc.), challenging them as they’re taught how to be the next great Hold’em champion.  The last man standing wins a seat at the table at the World Series of Poker.

Why not?  We’ve had chefs, boxers, bug-eaters, billionaires, executives, sports agents, and Hiltons (to name a few).  Why not poker players?

Just remember: you heard it here first.