Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

So, I am writing a book…

In Literature on May 31, 2008 at 2:06 am

So being this quirky, religious, technology, semi-musical, monty python, star trek, Patrick McGoohan prisoner, minority ethnic type, I’m trying to write that 1 book that everybody has in them.

In my particular case, it’s a book that throws together most of those things (I leave the Monty Python out).   Actually it’s supposed to be the first book in a trilogy.   I based it roughly on the stories that my father told me about my grandfather who made his way through the Middle East and eventually to the US.    It’s a science fiction novel that roughly pits the the space equivalent of the Russian, Persian and Turkish Empires, with a planet roughly equivalent to Armenia in the middle.  The first book takes my grandfather’s character through a James Bond-esque set of situations with a “gates of vienna” type siege broken by something like jan sobieski and knights templar kind of mashup.  There’s a certain eschatological 3 generation prophecy and a couple of religions.  Yeah I’m doing a brain dump.  I do have 1 fan, a friend who waits pensively for each chapter to come out.  The funny thing is that he argues against me about where the main character’s growth is leading him.  I am turning him more cynical by the end of the story, and he argues against that.  I figure that in a 3 book trilogy, that’s the equivalent of ending the 1st movement in a 3 part musical work on a minor key.  

I have my ideas about the second and third book.  280 pages has taken me roughly 1.5 years of typing away so those are way off.  I still have to write the climactic battle scene and then the confrontation between the main character and his rival.

Wish me luck…


Why I love Panera Bread…

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

So I go to Panera Bread several times a week (different ones for different things).   Having free wi-fi is nice, and I do take advantage of it, but there are several other reasons that I think that they and not Starbucks have turned into that 3rd place for people to go between work and home.

1) The fresh bread and pastries.  Esp. the bread.  All the sandwiches are great and they serve them up pretty quick.

2) The size of the restaurants.  Even though it can get loud, the main difference between meeting someone at Panera and meeting someone at Starbucks for a coffee is that you can actually be several feet away from the espresso machine…meaning you can have a conversation…or use your phone if you get a call.

3) The free refills on coffee and soda.  They haven’t done a similar thing for tea drinkers…but now they at least put out an urn of hot water.

4) The staff…they seem like normal people instead of some odd combination of tree hugging punk rockers…

5) ok now I can say it, the free wifi…

One other thing that I can say is that they aren’t as ubiquitous starbucks…they seem to be spread out more near the edges of towns and stuff where there is parking.  Most of the starbucks are in the middle of someplace where if I wanted to drive to them, parking can be a nuisance.

Anyway, there are my thoughts on Panera Bread.  I do admit one thing though…the coffee is better overall at starbucks…but free refills of pretty good coffee is a more a draw than excellent coffee.


Hi, I am using Jott….

In technology on May 18, 2008 at 1:22 am

Hi, I am using Jott. This is a new way for me to load stuff into my blog, pretty interesting I think. This has been transcribed from cell phone to the Jott site and now onto my blog…pretty neat. listen

Powered by Jott

Vista 64 blues…

In technology on May 17, 2008 at 3:59 am

I like the new Mac/PC commercial with the PC singing the country-blues kinda song.  Really cracked me up. see it at

On the other hand, Vista64 is really turning out to be a pain for any peripherals that require a specialized driver.   So far my Netgear sc101t has turned into a 1 terabyte brick (I still have to call their rep after sending quite a nastigram to them), our Palm Tungsten E2 doesn’t sync because of 64 incompatibility…and now the one solution I found for that which was using a bluetooth adapter doesn’t work.  

I found a reference on the palm user forum saying all these people got sync to work on vista 64 using bluetooth.  Now bluetooth sync on a palm is rather slow if you sync anything beside the main apps, but it was worth a shot.  

So I just spent an hour trying to fool my new Vista64 machine into synching the palm with no luck. I even tried using the XP driver and software just to see if it would work.  It installed but it could not detect the bluetooth dongle.

I blame this squarely on MS.   Vista is not such a great leap forward that having my devices stop working is an acceptable tradeoff.


You know, we need a QuickBase podcast

In technology on May 17, 2008 at 12:48 am

I've been sitting here listening to MacOS Ken, and I'm getting more and more convinced that having a forum and a blog is not enough. We need a QuickBase or at least a Developer Program Podcast. I'm not sure how I'd pull it together. Maybe my boss will let me buy a Mac with iLife and a little setup where I could interview developers in the program and of course the two Peters, Alex and Jim and see what happens. All it has to be is 10 minutes of questions and talking about things that are really cool about QuickBase.

It's an idea.

Famous quotes that keep me focused…

In Famous Quotes on May 8, 2008 at 2:03 am

Admiral Spruance:

Can’t find the original, so here goes: “Historians will write that this event or that choice made the difference here or there. While you’re there though, it’s a hell of a lot of groping around in the dark”. 

Translation:  You’ll figure it out

General U.S. Grant:

 “Oh, I am heartily sick of hearing what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think that he is going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

Translation: Tell me what you can do, not what can’t be done.

Winston Churchill:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Translation:  Stop thinking about an end game…consider yourself in the midst of something and you just have to plow through it.

John Adams:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Translation: It is what it is…so deal with it.

George Washington:

“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. “

Translation: What are you really thinking about when you grouse and complain…


“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be the sons of God.”

Translation: It’s pretty obvious.



The world is changing…can you keep up?

In technology on May 2, 2008 at 3:14 am

A video about the pace of change or as they call it: Shift Happens 

an amazing video.

A Memristor?

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2008 at 1:56 am

An interesting article in IEEE Spectrum  came through one of my email updates today from the IEEE.  I had never heard of a memristor and of course thinking about how a flash memory worked way back when, when we had to deliver the 12v charge to write or erase and then later when they added a voltage stack (which was, as I remember something akin to a couple of caps to hold that voltage so you didn’t have to have a 12v rail tied to it etc etc) I was kind of intrigued.   Now the potential discovery of a fundamental physical circuit (like a cap, resistor or inductor) whose characteristics change by the amount of energy that passed through it and it remembers that even after the energy is turned off…mind boggling if it is true, and it will create the era of always on computing…

Although I have to admit, when you have to do a reboot, you kinda might be stuck in the state you were in just before it crashed…so I’m wondering how you get out of that…