Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eureka, Faith is a degree of Enthusiasm

Faith is beautifully defined by Alma as a belief in something which is not seen but which is true. It is also defined as a seed which grows, and takes root because of truth and faith. However I learned something new about faith tonight. I was listening to Glenn Beck give a fireside to our the youth of our stake, and while i was listening I had one of those eureka moments. And this is it: "Faith is a degree of enthusiasm in something." To have faith in something is to be enthusiastic about it. To believe in something, one is moved to act and direct decisions in accordance to faith in a principle. Enthusiasm is both the affect and the effect. So faith is not a passive principle, it is one which requires our activity, else it is not. Faith without works is dead, Faith without enthusasm will never have works.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The best decade ever

I was talking to some 15 year old kids the other day and it is weird to
think they were born in 1990. They never even knew the 80s! What a shame,
what a gold age. Rockin time the 80s, and the 90s even better, too bad for
them they couldn't have grown up in the best two decades ever!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The String is both a reference type and a value type in .NET

In .NET the string class is a special type. It is a hybrid of both a value
type and a reference type.

A typical reference type is stored on the heap, and a typical value type is
stored on the stack.
Classes are reference types, for example, Windows.Forms.Textbox
Numbers are value types, for example, Integer and Double.

Value types are able to be stored on the stack because they have a finite
length. Reference types have variable length. So for reference types, .NET
keeps a memory reference on the stack to a location on the heap where the
actual value is stored. This allows the stack to be very fast and compact
while still being able to store large values like a string variable that
contains the preamble to the Constitution.

An analogy: A comparison to Sqlserver variables is the difference betwnee
the char and the varchar data types. The char always has a fixed length, the
varchar does not.

So the string is a special animal. You can use it without always having to
use a constructor. Good thing, it would be a real pain to have to write:
String myStringVar1 = new("hello ");
String myStringVar2 = new("world");
String myStringVar3 = myStringVar1 + myStringVar2;

Instead, because string is a special case in .NET we can just write:
String myStringVar3 = "hello " + "world";

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Donate to the Joseph Fluckiger blog!

I read a post that had a great idea! This post requested donations to help pay for the blog. I thought sure, why not and I donated a buck and it took less than two minutes to make the donation via my paypal account. Well I thought I'd try it. So here it is my request for donations:

To help pay for the Joseph Fluckiger blog, world peace and the unification of string theory, click the "make donation" button below.

Have the unique name Fluckiger has a very unforseen, positive benefit in the present internet age

It’s amazing what you can find by typing in your name on google. Especially if your name is as unique as Joseph Fluckiger. Of 7 billion people on the planet, there are only a handful of Joseph Fluckigers. By searching on google, you can find, interestingly enough an archive of my race histories throughout my life, including my all-time favorite: a posting of the 1993 state championship team, Mesquite Poteet. Ah the glory days. I think my time was a 16:20 for a distance of 5 kilometers. My best race ever for sure.

Scrolling through the results of the search "Joseph Fluckiger" brings up the following:

1993 texas state championship:

1999 BYU Rex Lee Memorial Run:

2004, Tripple threat:

2006: Venice triathalon

shuttle launches

I finally found a reliable, concise list of future shuttle launches and their statuses.


It also shows how is on the mission and what is being done.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A bug in the Microsoft ReportViewer control

I found a bug in the Microsoft Report Viewer 2005 control. When used in LocalMode in an application that does not have a strongName signature, the reportViewer control saves temporary files to IsolatedStorage folder and does not ever delete the temporary files that it creates. So the result of this is that it takes up a lot of harddrive space, about 240k per page of the report. And when a report has 900 pages, this is a problemo. The problem is solved simply by making sure that your application has a strong name key (see the “signing” tab of project properties).


Nevertheless, this untidy habit of not cleaning up after itself caused me a lot of problems, several customer servers where this application is installed almost ran out of hard drive space because of this bug. Not good!





Friday, October 27, 2006

Joseph's programming tidbit #1 - scope in .NET

No, I'm not talking about mouthwash.

There are five scopes in Visual Basic.NET
  1. Private
  2. Friend
  3. Protected
  4. Public
  5. Protected Friend
An important thing that I learned about scope in the context of inheritance:It is important that the parent class of a child class be public, otherwise the child class won't be able to be instantiated. There is however, an instance when this is Ok. And that is when a class factory method is available to instantiate the class. A factory method is a static method that instantiates members of a separate class.

Another sly nuance exception to scope arrises from nested classes. Private class level variables of a class that is nested within another can be accessed by the parent class. Ah ha! There not so private after all! Kinda like the neighbor who has a view into your living room from theirs. Like my neighbor for example.

Singelton class: A class designed such that only one instance of that class exists at any one time. I typically accomplish this in my code with a DefInstance static method which hold the one instance of the class that I want the rest of the project to access.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I've started creating an artificially intelligent program.

I've always wanted to create an artificially intelligent software application. So today I have begun this endevor. I have affectionatly named it HAL, after the 2001 Space Odessy HAL.

So far it can answer questions like "What will the weather be today." and "Am I pregnant?"

My goals in building this program are:
  • Create a program that is intelligent. The criteria for success is that my friend Ilijits Bos will judge this program to be intelligent. If he uses it, interacts with it and after using it says "it is intelligent", then I will have achieved this goal. He will determine his criteria for success at his sole discretion. The only caveat is that I can't bribe him to say yes, or drug him or blackmail him into saying yes.
  • learn new programming techniques

In the near future, you will be able to download HAL from

HAL will be written in C# .NET, deployed via click-once, and will run as a low-permissions desktop application (security friendly) and will access a knowledge database via webservices.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Durring my road-ride today I bunny-hopped a 3.5 ft black snake.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

China log number 1

This is Joseph’s first travel China log from, er Tampa. I was quite heart-broken to arrive and find out that they changed the flight to 6am instead of 10am. I didn’t realized how excited I was to get to China until I heard I was going to have to wait a whole additional day to go to China and see my fam.

The other funny thing, is that I will miss my birthday. I will cross the international date line while flying to China, so I will skip ahead 24 hours on September 11th thereby mostly missing my birthday. I leave Detroit at 2:25 pm Central Time Sept 10th and arrive at 8:45 pm Sept 11. Crazy. I guess I’ll just stay 30. I thought it was only possible to miss your birthday if your birthday was on February 29th. But I have now, by fortunate misfortune, found a new way. I will start a stay-young-by-skipping-your-birthday airline. Well, maybe at least they’ll give me special treatment on the flight.

One question I hope to answer while I am in China. Perhaps one of the most important questions I’ve had in my life. Does Chinese food actually taste like Chinese food. AND does American food served in China actually taste American? I also want to see Chinese kids pee on their mom’s queue as described in Sarah’s 2nd travel log. That sound pretty impressive. Maybe Michael can learn that trick.

You know I should have told them I was going to my wedding reception in Shanghi. It worked for me and Sarah when we were flying back from our honeymoon to make our Dallas reception. We got to cut in front of everyone, (and got a free bottle of Champaign).
One thing that did give me a quite a bit of cheer after the bad news: On my way home from the airport I almost ran over a turtle. He was crossing a 4 lane highway. I was curious if he would make it, so I stopped on the shoulder and watched that little turtle. (He was a snapping turtle with a long neck). Trucks and cars and semi trucks all swerved and drove over and around him. Each time a car passed I expected to see a turtle pancake. But each time I didn’t, and low and behold that little lucky turtle made it all the way across 4 busy lanes of traffic.

So the things I learned today are 1) check your flight times 2) If you are trying to walk across 4 busy lanes of traffic, you just might make it.



Sunday, April 02, 2006

Identity Theft

A relative asked me if I was concerned about identity theft. Anyone in the world can access my blog which has pictures and descriptions of my life. So, I have decided to post this agreement which you must accept before continuing:

  • I promise not to use any information on this blog to steal Joseph Fluckiger's Identity.
[I accept] [I decline]

Ok, so that's probably as effective as the Microsoft software agreement which no one I know has ever read, not even my dad who is a lawyer.

Seriously, identity theft is real and I don't want it to happen to me or you. So I'll tell you what I know about it and how to prevent it and also identify it early so you can mitigate the consequences if it does happen.

Identity theft I think can be summed up as: Someone taking out a loan with your social security number. That's it, that is what identity theft is. If someone has a picture of me, or knows what my son's name, or knows that I used WD-40 over a camp fire last summer, it doesn't help an identity thief. Because when you take out a loan, they don't ask those things. They main thing they want to know is your social security number.

Never-the-less I do use caution in what I post to my blog. I won't post my birthday, or my address or my home computer's IP address for example. So I will be careful not to post those things on my site. But by far the main thing is the Social Security Number (SSN).

These are steps I take to protect myself:
  1. I cancelled my extra credit cards. I only have one, and it is an ATM/Visa card. I audit the trasactions several times each week.
  2. I don't fall for phishing scams. "Phishing" is when you get an email that looks like it is from a legitimate source and it really isn't, and they ask you to enter in your password or other sensitive information into their fake website. Always check the domain name after the "http://" if it says, you are ok, if it says you are not ok.
  3. I use paypal instead of a credit card as much as possible. With a credit card, anyone with your credit card number can take your money, with Paypal you have to send money to the merchant.
  4. ****important: check your credit report regularly. Watch for suspicous activity. They changed the rules specifically because of identity theft so that now it is free to get your own credit report once per year. This is how you will identify identity theft, it will show up as new loans/credit cards on your credit report, followed by lots of bad ratings.
  5. My password that I use for every website and bank account is "doublecheeseholdtheonions", which no one would ever guess. Ok, joking aside, I use punctuation in my passwords and that's all I'll tell you about my passwords because this is a public forum. Call me and we can chat about password strategies. More and more passwords are your identity.
  6. I use biometric authentication for my computers. That's a fancy word for fingerprint reader. It is reliable, and it works only for my finger. (I think we'll see bio-id built into most computers and electronic devices in the future. Your voice, fingerprint and passwords, and behavior will contribute to "evidence" which can reliably establish identity and flag impostors)

The dependency we have in the US on the Social Security number is seriously flawed. Lots of organizations use your SSN to identify you because it is easy. Your health insurance company uses it. (They are trying to shift away from SSN, but legacy systems still use it heavily) Funny story: my first BYU ID in 1998 had my SSN posted on the front of it for anyone to see, they have changed this practice fortunately. So these are the places you need to worry about your SSN being stolen from, because there are a lot of hands through which your SSN will pass. I know, because at a previous job, I had a database of SSNs. There really isn't anything you can do to prevent these things, so that's why step 4 above is important.

Interesting story: Sarah's classmate had her identity stolen. Someone was able to get her social security number. And they were able to take out several loans and credit cards. Sarah's class-mate didn't find out what had happened until she went to take out a credit card and it got denied because her credit was bad. So now she is having to go through this long, painful, paperwork intensive process of verifying her identity, and cleaning up bogus activity. Meanwhile, they are not going to restore her credit because they are trying to watch to see if the thief is going to make a move and get caught.

The research I did for this blog was really interesting, and I feel empowered against an otherwise fuzzy, ominous, evil concept. My conclusion is that blogging is safe. If I were running for govenor, I might be wary of arming my advesaries with incriminating evidence, but I don't plan on that. I have an action plan, so identity thieves, you'd better pick on someone else because this the the blog of Fort Knox.

-Joseph Ft. Knox Fluckiger

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I passed a Microsoft Certification Test!

I passed the first test of 3 for my Microsoft MCAD Certification! I passed the test called "Developing Windows Based Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic.NET and Microsoft Visual Studio"


It has been a longtime goal of mine to get the Microsoft Certification for Programmers, so it is a great personal victory for me to have passed the first test. I didn't actually think that I would pass it, I was taking it to see how hard the test was and how hard I would have to study to pass it because I got a take-it-again-for-free coupon. :) But I did in fact pass it on my first try. I scored a 775, while the minimum score to pass is a 700, so I passed by a margin of 3 questions on a 38 question test. I was certainly happy coming out of the test.

Now I think I will stop having those nagging nightmares where I'm in school again and can't find my class. Something that didn't bother me conciously, but something - perhaps in retrospect humerously - that bugged me subconsiously. So it's a great personal victory for me. In addition to a great professional affirmation of my skillsets, it's proof to myself that I haven't lost my academic touch.

Gotta go celebrate!


(added 3/19/2005) My father-in-law, Stayner Lewis, asked a good question about the certification: "what kind of certifiation is this." So.. let me put this certification in perspective. Most professional professions have their industry accepted degrees/lisences/certifications/advanced degrees. Lawyers have the bar, Actualary accountains have their standard set of tests, CPAs have their test/certifications. Business people can get an MBA. Well programmers are a interesting animal. There isn't really a common advanced degree or an industry wide certification for programmers. Maybe because programming is relatively new compared to law, medicine, tax, and insurance. Also, the skill that need to be demonstrated are technology specifc: Sun's Java Language Microsoft's .NET language, Cisco's various languages, etc. So what can a programmer do to further his education and demostrate compentency in programming skills? This is where Professional Programming Certifications come into play. Each company produces its own set of tests, and Microsoft's program is called MCP, Microsoft Certified Professional.

When I finish the "MCAD" certification that I'm working on, the acronym will go next to my name on my business cards and email signatures etc: "Joseph Fluckiger, MCAD". Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? anyway, hope that helps clarify a bit.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

In the crib with Michael

Last night Michael was having trouble getting to sleep, so I climbed into his crib with him and laid down next to him. Well Michael took this as a sign that it was play time, so he got up and started energetically climbing around the crib. I might have scolded him and asked him to lay back down, but he was just too entertaining. He would nuzzle his face right against mine and slobber on me. Next he stood up and walked around next to my head by holding onto the side of the crib. He was looking for a way out. He is very resourceful and discovered something that might help him escape: my head. So he stepped up onto my head, which really hurt, but I was laughing too hard to do anything about it. I asked him to kindly step off my head, and he did, but then he decided to sit on my head. This made me laugh even more. He did finally get to sleep and I was able to finish watching the winter Olympics. Too fun. Too fun.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

We won 12 hours of Razorback!!

more pictures of 12hour

We won! Yesterday I rode in the 12 hours of Razorback relay-race. It is an off-road, very technical 10.2 mile course. There were four people on our team: Kevin, Damon, Rick and myself. I've been training for this race for several months. The race starts at 10 am and goes to 10pm. The team that gets the most laps in wins. Our team completed 14 laps, I was the 3rd leg and rode 3 of the 14 laps.

It was a very exciting race. We were in 2nd place most of the day, down by as much as 7 minutes. That is until the 11th lap, which was my turn. Our team number was 418, and the team that was in first place was 410. So I was waiting at the starting line for my teammate to pass off the baton to me. The 3rd leg guy from team 410 was right there too and I was talking with him. We had both ridden the same times all day. His guy came through, and 5 minutes passed. My guy came through and I took off as fast as I could. By this time it was night and so I was racing around with a headlamp winding through the trails as fast as I could. I “left it all on the trail”, each uphill I cranked down hard on those petals, passing people all the way and yelling at them “rider up”. Each person I passed, I looked at their number to see if it was 410. Finally, right at the finish line, I found him. (He rode the last mile with a flat tire, which added probabaly 3-4 minutes to his time.) I jumped off my bike and ran past the guy and handed the baton off to Rick. He took off, now we were in first place!

Rick rode hard, and took a couple spills. He put another 2:30 on the other team. Damon took the next lap and put another 1:30 on them. So at this point we were 4 minutes in the lead with one lap to go. Very exciting. I decided to run out onto the course so that when Kevin passed by I could tell him how far behind the other guy was. It was very dark and I got lost. I keep seeing the lights of riders as they weaved around the winding trails. Kevin passed and he was still 4 minutes in the lead. I started back to camp. I decided to take a short-cut. Bad decision. After a half hour of running in circles, trying to cut through the woods, and my light getting dimmer, I decided it was prayer time. So I prayed and in that moment while I was silent and it was quiet, I heard people cheering and I started running towards the sounds. And long story short I made it back alive.

And oh. So you are wondering who won. Well I am happy to tell you who won, because we did. Yahoo!!! Yippee, yea baby. We even had an award ceremony and a medal stand with 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I felt like I was getting a gold Olympic medal. Except we got a big 3 foot trophy which is sitting on my kitchen bar.


Friday, February 17, 2006

my first blog

Welcome to my Blog.

My goal in writing this blog is to make the world a better place. Well something like that, at least I hope to share some stories from my life and you'll enjoy, and also I think it's pretty cool to have a blog.

Happy reading,

-Joseph Fluckiger