Get a 4k 120 Inch TV! (or a New House)

I want to start this off by explaining that I have no official titles in the financial or economic world.  In fact, the only credentials I have are in an entirely different field.  However, I do not intend this article to be in a scholarly journal, just to be useful to someone else.  So without further ado, I will begin.

So, today I noticed an article which peaked my interest.  There is currently a 4k TV which is 120 inches being offered on the market.  At first, I was marveling at its power (or lack of power consumption), its size and sheer beauty.  Something this amazing is bound to be a game changer for the big sports fans, and is a real contender against projection based systems.  The techno-nerd in me was going ape-shit on this one.

That is, until I saw the price.  $130,000.  I’ll let that sink in for a moment.  A TV, albeit an amazing one, costs more than a freaking house!  OK, well the price point got me thinking about these things.  They have people out there who buy this, and they probably have a LOT of money.  However, that isn’t the only people who would buy it.  It sounds almost unfathomable, but people are taking out loans to get this TV, and it is costing them more than a house payment.  

Those people who bought that TV are certainly cool though.  I bet you they are the talking point of the town.  Any party at their house has to be amazing.  And, that is where I have to stop and say, I have not seen anyone or know of anyone who actually bought this TV.  I would hope noone would buy this TV, because it is a horrible idea.  This is a play thing of the rich, and it is simply way too much for anyone who isn’t super rich to even consider.  

This is why I wanted to make this post.  Too often do you see people complaining about bills and how little they have, sometimes barely getting food on the table.  These same people have a brand new Jacked up 4×4 Taurus in the garage with all of the options and so much aftermarket parts, it’s hard to even call it a truck and not a beast.  Or they will have a massive TV, a full fine china set, and the latest fall fashion.

The problem is that we place our need for social acceptance before that of survival.  We as a society place debt in a very low priority level.  You see it every day, commercials inciting how easy it is to get a loan, or how to refinance your current loan.  At the same time, other commercials are letting you know how horrible of a person you are if you don’t get the latest and greatest of toys for your collection.  

While there is certainly nothing wrong with getting what you want when you have the financial means to get it, it is an entirely different animal when you are doing this without the money available.  If you begin to find yourself in a trap of only buying something because someone else will find it cool, or you think it will improve your chances at being successful, think long and hard about it.  Many times, you will find you don’t really need it.

One tip, which I use regularly, is to ask a third party.  Someone in no way bound by your societal rules.  Typically I call my brother.  We bounce things back and forth, and he keeps me from making mistakes and I try to do the same for him.  He about flipped a lid when I told him I was looking at buying a new Xbox One without being out of debt.

I am sure you have heard the phrase “What’s in your wallet?”  That commercial is a perfect example of how the banks are trying to guide you back into debt.  The only people who really care “What’s in your wallet?” are the people who stand to gain by being in your wallet.  Almost everyone you will ever meet in your life could care less what is in your wallet.  Stop letting what you think society thinks keep you from getting out of debt.

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Done… Thankfully

Well folks, my biggest distraction is now behind me.  I have officially been awarded my Bachelor’s in Science with a major of Network Security.  I am still studying for CISSP, which will be the big one, but that might take me months.  As it stands I am looking at August before it’s time to take that.  I have decided to get back into programming, as that is where I have the most fun.  I want to finish what I started with Project Spark, and then shift into using Unreal Engine 4.  I like the ideas coming through my head right now.  I want to make a game similar to that of the mafia war browser based game from the early thousands.  I don’t want to make that game exactly, but I want some form of online ranking and such in a project sparkish style.  We will see where that goes anyways.  As far as Unreal 4, I want to get used to the blueprint programming.  I also want to play with C++ as it is a very nice language to work with.  We will see how it all works.  I really am looking forward to it all.

Today I learned that the plural of conscience is consciences.  (I know, sounds lame, but it is one of those things that unless you have to use the word, you don’t think about, and it just sounds weird if you say it, so I looked it up.)

Database fun

So I managed to create the pokemon database.  With 3 individual tables each related with a single key with each other in series.  I was able to use JOINs creatively to make it show me every card that I need, as well as every card that I have.

I will have to upload it to my portfolio, because although it may not be academic in nature, it is certainly a polished product which I can showcase.  I have definitely enjoyed making it and cataloging each of my cards using it.  My next endevour is to maintain it with the newer cards and link it up to a list of all pokemon.  Once linked, I will be able to bring up only pokemon cards which relate to a specific pokemon or type.

As far as other projects in the work, I just finished playing clue.  I realized that the only reason I come up with the guesses that I do is because I use analytical thinking to find who has what.  My process is something like the following:

1.  As soon as I get my card, I list each of my cards so I know what they are.

2.  I assign each row on my guess sheet to a player like so:

M | F | D | T
—————
__|_|__|__

3.  Each time someone guesses, I put a G with the guess number next to it for each item they guess.  So G1 for the first guess, G2 for the second etc.

4.  As it goes around to each person, if someone says No to any guesses, I can safely rule them out for having the cards, so I put a N under the coloumn for their name.

5.  If someone hands a card, I place a question mark next to it with the number so ?1 for guess 1, ?2 for guess 2, etc.  This is because it could be any of the cards they have.

6.  This is where it gets fun though.  Each player has 5 cards, so as soon as I find their 5 cards, I mark N for every other card they don’t have.  This is to help in finding who has the remaining cards.

7.  If someone guesses something I know they have, it helps me more, because it narrows down what the person who gave them a card could be showing them.

8.  When guessing, I limit what I guess to not always include my own things, but sometimes to include them.  I don’t want people to automatically guess that I have what I guess.

9.  If someone guesses a card, it doesn’t mean they do or do not have it.  Although if none of the other players do have it, it becomes suspect and warrants further investigation.

10.  Nos are more valuable than yeses, and if you know someone has a card, and they give a result, you still have to put question marks, but it is almost assured tht they gave the same card.

– Thomas

Database Fun (Continued)

So, after all of the fun I had with creating that lifecycle management system, which I had reports, forms, and all sorts of fun little queries for, my system crashed with everything on it.  Luckily I was able to recover a lot, but not quite so for that database.  In another stroke of luck, I was told the next day that they only needed 15 items which they wanted tracked using excel.  Got to love how they are very clear in the beginning.  Either way, it was a fun exercise where I learned a lot about Access and database programming in general.

Anyways, life has moved on as usual.  I did rediscover my old pokemon collection.  I’ve been going through them with my wife trying to organize them.  They were mostly in 2 boxes, so we have to sort through them.

To aid in the process, and at least this is guarenteed to be used, I have been making a database which will store which pokemon I own as compared to what there is.  There is a lot of fields which could be normalized, but really right now I don’t need normalized, I need something which is easy to input into as raw data.  This seems to be working real well, especially since I was able to just copy and paste most of the raw data into it.

I have it set up with 3 tables.  The first one is the list of all of the Sets, the second one is a list of all of the cards located in each of the sets, and the last one is just a list of cards I own.  The set list is literally just the names and an ID.  The cards in the sets have informaiton such as the type, name, set number, card number, rarity and type.  The last table has only a few columns.  Number Owned, Card Condition, Condition Notes, and First Edition.  Most of the fields automatically fill in appropriately and the Card Condition is always one of a few conditions, but I left it open to put other things in there too.  As I said, it could be normalized, but what I have works very nicely.

The end result is that I can open the Set List table and expand a set to see every card in the set.  I can then expand a particular card and type how many of what condition I have of that card.  It is very readable and organized.

The last thing Id id with it was to create a report which I can make into a PDF when it is all said and done.  I am thinking about making a check box or something.  The report groups the pokemon cards by set, but I plan to make it also group it by type, energy and by pokemon number eventually.  Well I have to be off to bed.

What I learned today:  The Stats_Mode() function in an oracle database will return the most used number or the Mode of a column.

Fun few days

So, I hate getting side tracked, because I forget where I was.  I am still working on the game, but very little because life keeps getting in the way.  I should be graduating at the end of 10 weeks from now :D.

The next big milestone after that is CISSP which will be in May some time.

So I got approached by several people at work.  My team’s new goal is to create and maintain a life cycle management system for use by my coworkers to manage small parts and pieces.  We are limited in what we can use unfortunately, and I was given Access to do it.  Access is like the redheaded step child of DBMSs.  Noone wants to use it, but because it is integrated with Office, which most everyone has anyways, it is what a lot of people end up using.

I spent a good 3 hours today playing aroudn with a single SQL command.  I have never been a fan of how difficult it is to get to the SQL querying of Access.  The Visual system that it uses is awesome if all you need is a basic query, but anything overly complex, and you might as well give up.

Earlier in the day, I spent about 30 minutes getting the requirements from my boss about what he wanted to see from it.  From there I extrapolated that we wanted a scalable, flexable system which we can input parts, assign parts an End of Life (EOL), at which point maintenance or replacement would be necessary.  It has to print out various reports, which I wrote down, and it has to be able to help translate this into a price we can ask from our Supply Department.  For instance, if we were to input all of the information into it, I should be able to just bring up a report, take it to supply, and from that they should know exactly what we need, and When we need it.  Much less interferance from them.

Well I created from that an ERD with cardinality listed.  I used crows foot notation because it is the easiest one to use in Visio for me.  Created my intial design and normalized it down to BCNF.  With redundancy reduced to near 0 (I don’t want to spend the time focusing on whether or not it is 6NF because it just isn’t worth it.  BCNF is way more than I would have needed anyways), I was left with a decent diagram to go off of.

I took that and went into Access and created the tables.  I did determine a few fields I needed based on the requirements which I had forgotten about (price of course).

I then started work on the 3 hour query.  I wanted to be able to bring up the next month of EOLs with extended Service EOLs figured in.  Once that pain was over, I then had the basis for all of my queries.  I then quickly created a few forms.  I am going to show my boss the progress I have made on it.  I hope it is at least going in the right direction.

Tough week

This week has been very intense.  School, work and family have overrun my time.  I feel like I can see the light at the end of the rainbow for school, and it makes it that much harder.  I know now that I will be debt free within a month, My car will be gone.  I will be Rent free within 3 months.

With my classes, I am quickly finding that I would have much more fun doing a programming degree.  Each class or assignment which has been related to it since I started school, I have aced, enjoyed, and in general would do again if given the opportunity.  My degree related schooling, while it is stuff I need to know for my job is so droll and boring.  My intended career is not boring, but the schooling for it is quite boring.  I feel like I am in a history class sometimes, and want to pass out.

Either way, At least my classes are over comptuer stuff now.  There were several semesters where I  learned nothing about computers.

I do plan to continue with my Project spark game, but I am about to go into super scary mode with school.  I am overloading my class schedule to get finished sooner.  I wish I had been able to do that sooner, I’d be done way before now.

I really should consider doing more blog posts related to security.  There are a few more topics I have been working on, but I am taking my time.  In particular, on the point of passwords, I want to explore password keepers and how to set up a portable password keeper which minimizes exposure to hacking.

Anyways, I am extremely exhausted and will post more later.

What I learned today: NOSQL databases were designed with the purpose of solving the Big Data problem.  They are not focused as much on the consistency of data as much as the flexibility, expandability and speed of it.

Small Game in Dream Spark (Continued)

I know how sketchy I am at getting to this posts in time.  The thing is that I have a life unfortunately, and I will promptly continue having one.

I got a few minutes today to play with my game.  I checked out the inventory system, which is where I know a majority of my time will be spent over the next few hours of coding.  I know how I want to make it, where you can cycle through, but getting it to display the object in your inventory based on the type of item vs just showing the entire inventory will require each item to have another variable.  I expected a hurdle like this, but it is easier said than done in this case.  I know that each of the 4 inventories will have a finite amount of spaces, and by that I mean, it wont be unlimited numbers, but listed based on the number of a certain type of item you have in your inventory.

So you have 4 types, each item can have a line of code on it determining the type which can, after you pick up the item to your inventory, change a variable in an array… crap no arrays, so it will have to be inside of the object.  The variable would have to set itself.

Ok, so you walk up to an item and bump it.  Upon bumping it, the item itself transfers itself into your inventory.  Once in your inventory, it stays there dormant until you press the up arrow on the dpad.  It will by default show the first item in your inventory which is of that type.  To do this it can loop through items until it finds one with that type.  If it reaches the end of inventory before finding one, it displays a red x or something to indicate no items.

I have to find a way around variable scope because a variable in an object is by default hidden.