Help Disabled Veterans get a Laptop

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled and adaptive laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the ‘Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field. The experience of MAJ Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops can be to a wounded service member’s recovery.

Jeff the Baptist put up a link for the Army team. If you’d rather give through a real branch of the armed forces, give through the Marine link above.

Veteran’s Day Quote-a-palooza

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima

A deep and heart-felt thank you to all who served! Those of us who didn’t or couldn’t thank those who did. There’s still time to donate to Project Valour-IT to give disabled veterans laptops:

“Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.” – George Washington

“We’re gathered today, just as we have gathered before, to remember those who served, those who fought, those still missing, and those who gave their last full measure of devotion for our country… One of those who fell wrote, shortly before his death, these words: ‘Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.’ Well, today, Veterans Day, as we do every year, we take that moment to embrace the gentle heroes of Vietnam and of all our wars. We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause… Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them.” – Ronald Reagan

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. -Jose Narosky

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. – Elmer Davis

But fame is theirs – and future days
On pillar’d brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell – when cold neglect is dead –
“These for their country fought and bled.”
-Philip Freneau

The fear of war is worse than war itself. – Seneca

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. – John Stuart Mill (1868)

We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. – George Orwell

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. – Robert Lewis Stevenson

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave … – Patrick Henry

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. – Nathan Hale

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke

If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms, never! Never! Never! – William Pitt, 1708-1778

I have not yet begun to fight! – Captain John Paul Jones aboard the Bon Homme Richard

I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way. – John Paul Jones, later adopted by the US Navy’s Special Boat Units

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. – Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. – George Washington, first annual address to Congress, 1790

Put your trust in God, but keep your powder dry. – Oliver Cromwell, 1599-1658 Lord Protector of England

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Victory belongs to the most persevering. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others experience. – Otto Von Bismarck, 1815–1898

Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become a oyster. – Theodore Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. – H. M. Forgy, chaplain USS New Orleans Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us … they can’t get away this time. – Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, (1898-1971), USMC most decorated Marine in history

We’re Surrounded … That Simplifies Our Problems – Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, (1898-1971), USMC most decorated Marine in history

Diplomats are just as essential in starting a war as soldiers are in finishing it. – Will Rogers

Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. – Winston Churchill

It is more agreeable to have the power to give than to receive. – Winston Churchill

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. – Prime Minister Winston Churchill

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. – General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1890–1969

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – General Dwight D. Eisenhower

We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction. – General Douglas MacArthur

If a man does his best, what else is there? – General George S. Patton

Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose. – Ronald Reagan

Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong. – Ronald Reagan

I learned that good judgment comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes. – General Omar N. Bradley, 1893-1981

A war put off is not a war avoided. – Charlton Heston

Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem. – Ronald Reagan

We just don’t know

Nova on PBS ran an episode this week about the secret history of Sputnik. The show explored the real reason that the Soviets beat the Free-World into space: Eisenhower desperately wanted spy satellites to forestal a nuclear Perl Harbor so he deliberately held back the U.S. launch so and let the Soviets go first. Doing so required the Soviets to establish a legal precedent for satellite fly over, something Eisenhower desperately wanted so that the U.S. could launch spy satallites.

If the Soviets had not gone first they no doubt would have employed their considerable propaganda power to raise powerful objection in international law to the orbiting of satellites. The law of space and subsequent development of space flight of all kinds would have evolved much differently and most likely, much more contentiously. Sputnik represented a subtle strategic coup for the Free-World, one that arguably saved the entire world from nuclear destruction by reducing paranoia and fears of a surprise attack on both sides.

Yet, the world and especially the American public, saw Sputnik as a devastating defeat for the America. It damaged Eisenhower’s presidency to such a degree that had he been in his first term, the event would have most likely cost him his reelection. It prompted a flurry of legislation that federalized education and scientific research. The sting of the perceived defeat led directly to the largest and most expensive work of political art in the 20th century, the Apollo moon missions.

Chicago Boyz has a post on why the American people sees so much disconnect between what our leaders so and what we think they should do: we don’t know as much as they do. One example is given above, with Eisenhower prudently allowing the Soviets to launch Sputnik first, even though we could have beaten them to space. Widely seen as a defeat for America, it gave us the freedom to launch our space satellites that would allow us to keep tabs on their activities and prepare necessary responses.

I think this idea, too, can inform those on the radical left (or in the case of Ron Paul supporters, those on the radical right), who bemoan the lack of progress made in surrendering in Iraq. It seems like there’s always just enough Democrats to give President Bush the support he needs in Congress. Maybe that’s not a sign of cowardice in the face of Republican outcry; maybe it’s intentional. Maybe, the Democratic leaders in Congress know just a little bit more about goings on in Iraq than do the bloggers and NutRoots. Maybe they see that a defeat in Iraq would be devastating for the nation and our standing overseas, since we would have those who seek to harm us a huge propaganda victory. Even those who opposed the war recognize that for those not caught in the past, the decision has been made and we need to deal with the consequences of that decision making things work the best that they can given the hand we’re dealt. Maybe they recognize the need to “move on” from past fights and deal with the reality we’re in now, as opposed to that of five years ago. Maybe they’ve looked at the actual information and seen that surrender is not the best path forward, and are trying to skate a thin line between the intolerance of the Radical Left and the reality of the situation?

This is actually another part of the reason I’ve been doing less political blogging lately: I know don’t know all the information that our leaders do. It’s why, although I generally favor wind power, I don’t blog on it much since I don’t know all the factors involved, and neither does anyone else on the Delaware blogosphere (with the likely exception of Tommywonk) despite all the hot air that’s been raised about. I don’t know the data and neither do they, despite their claims otherwise.

And, that’s part of why I’m conservative: I don’t want people who know little about the decision making the decision. Leave up to those who know what they’re talking about, who are usually those with a personal stake. For all their flaws, Delmarva Power is in the power delivery business and they know it better than we do. So, if they don’t want to do it, there might be a reason and I don’t see the wisdom in pushing it on them. Let Bluewater Winds compete on the open market like any other service and see if they can find a buyer, rather than having their friends in the Legislature mandate one.

In summation, since I’ve babbled long enough, beware of making grand pronouncements about our leader’s idiocy or corruption, because, the odds are, they know a little bit more than you do. So if these “idiots” know more than you, what does that make you?

Developer efficiency myths and truths

This article(Developer efficiency myths and truths) has one of the truest points I’ve ever read (Listed as a myth):

#2: Slumber parties at the office equal more quality work completed.

I call a workaholic programmer who regularly pulls all-nighters The Martyr. It is tempting to think that putting in more hours equals more work, but most developers are spun out by 5:00 PM. Development is brain-taxing work, and you cannot do it when you’re tired or improperly nourished. A late night here and there may pay off, but chances are, the quality of the work done past 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM is low, and the next day your efficiency will be in the toilet. Avoid the late night work whenever possible — you are not nearly as efficient as you’d like to think.

The end of the workday comes around and I’m wiped. I can’t think any longer than I already have. (Some especially tough days, I don’t even reach the end of the workday before I’m drained.) This is especially unfortunate for me, because my company pays overtime, so if I could put more hours in, I’d get more money. But, instead, a lot of times, I just head home and lie down for a little while hoping to get my brain back in gear. (It’s one of the reasons I’ve been doing less substantial blogging recently; my current assignment is pure development so I’m just coding for hours on end and don’t want to think about anything when I’m done. And despite my recent increase in free time, I’m also reading less at night as well as a result.)

Business people: don’t overwork your programmers, you’ll get much better results if you save their overtime hours for instances when they’re really needed. (i.e., deadlines, or something’s broken.)