Give up Something Good for Something Better

We each have a given number of years on earth. It is hard to know how many that will be. There are many choices we have in how to spend our time. There are many good choices, but what are the best choices? We all need to choose wisely!

What I am Starting

I enjoy playing Solitaire each day. Articles say solitaire is good for “older” people. But there are better uses of my time. I decided to relearn Danish, even though I do not know where I will ever use it. It may be confusing, but I am also learning Spanish at the same time. Hopefully, it will not be too confusing, but after 23 days, it is going well. Also, one son is also learning a language, so we can compare how we are doing. Maybe there will be opportunities to use these languages in the future. We need to make sure we are ready, as much as possible, when these opportunities arrive.

What Started this Thought Process

In church today, we heard a beautiful song, His Eye Is On The Sparrow Lyric Video • Keith & Kristyn Getty • Heather Headley – YouTube. We all have challenges in our lives. It is what we do with those challenges that really matters.


There are so many important tasks I what to accomplish. At work this includes getting ready for two classes I am teaching this fall semester, relearning LISP with one student, and organizing a seminar in July. The seminar is to introduce Front Range Community Colleges Computer Science students to the Computer Science Department at Colorado State University.


I also want to spend more time with Diana, Matthew, Aaron, and Aaron’s family. It is hard to eliminate activities that are fun but do not contribute to this goal. If you are old enough to have grandchildren, what activities would you like to do with them. How about time with your own siblings? When you live in two different states, or even two different parts of the same state, that can be difficult.

The House and Yard

Then there is the house. After living in a place for over 30 years, it is hard to get rid of items. This is especially true about items that my parents gave to me. I am trying to scan several of my father’s articles so that I can share them on his Facebook page. I have posted several to the Dr. C. Sharp Cook Facebook page. I plan to post several more.

Then I have my slides from my trips around the world. Digitizing those slides, three slides at a time, would also be a good use of time. Fortunately, they are mostly Kodachrome slides, which do not fade over time. I also have my father’s slides from his trips. How will I decide what is to be digitally or physically preserved? What do I not need to preserve for my family? I am getting old enough that some of those items I do not want may be worth some money. What should I do with those items?


The final thing to prioritize is ensuring I have enough income to sustain our lifestyle for a few more years. Everything is getting more expensive. Having a good side business can bring in extra money, but it takes time. I really enjoy my business and value the products. But all businesses are not for everyone. If you do want to hear more, leave a comment and I I will send more information.

There are enough tasks for me to do. How do I prioritize all of them? What are your top priorities? How do you organize them? How do you decide which good activities you are doing that need to be replaced with something better? Good luck. If you have ideas, I would love to hear from you.

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Jumps and Calls are not the Same

I have programmed with several languages. This semester, I am teaching students x86 assembler. The 8086 was the start of the x86 family for Intel. The University of Virgia has a great introduction to x86 codding.


Intel x86 processorFor all programs, jumps and calls have some similarities, but they are not the same. In most programming languages, code execution goes from one statement to the next statement. Sometimes a user might want to switch the execution of the program to a different location. The new location is usually labeled through either a function or a label.


Functions are separate code that has an entry point at the start and a ret (return) at the end. It can be called from other functions in your code. Since I have several examples of Fibonacci sequence generators in other languages, I will use a simple function that adds together two numbers and returns the result in the EAX register. All x86 assembler functions start with PROC and end with ENDP.

; Next Fibonacci Number Calculator
; Add two numbers on the stack and return their sum in registeer EAX
; For all routines, the last item to be pushed on the stack is the return address, save it to a register
; then save any other expected parameters in registers, then restore the return address to the stack.
fibonacci PROC near
    pop edx                              ; Save the return address
    pop eax                              ; Save second number in register EAX
    pop ebx                              ; Save first number in EBX
    push edx                             ; Restore return address
    add eax, ebx                         ; Add them together and store in EAX
    ret                                  ; And return with result in EAX
fibonacci ENDP

Calling a Function

Calling a function is simple, the instruction call followed by the name of the function. When the function finishes, it returns control to the instruction immediately after the call. A calll might look like:

    push number2                         ; Second parameter.
    push number1                         ; First parameter.
    call fibonacci
    mov ebx, number1                     ; Move the previous high number into EBX
    mov number1, eax                     ; Move the new high number into number1
    mov number2, ebx                     ; Store the second number for recursion

In assembler, and thus in all programming languages, parameters are put on the stack in the reverse order. On the return from fibonacci, the next statement to be executed is “mov ebx,” which directly follows the “call fibonacci” statement.


Programs usually progress from one statement to the next. The exceptions are function calls and jumps. Jumps just change the execution from one statement in the program to another statement within the program. The two statements do not need to follow each other. Only jump to a label. Never jump to a function, as when it tries to return somewhere, it does not know where that new location is located.

The tail end of the _fibloop in the sample above would look like:

    cmp  eax, maxNumber                  ; This will exit loop when EAX = 0x63D = 1597
    jg   _fibRecurse                     ; It will drop through one more than printed.
    push eax
    call writeInt
    jmp _fibLoop
    push ebx    

The first line is a comparison the max number I specified for the loop. If the number is greater than the maximum number, the program jumps to _fibRecurse. If the number is less than the maximum number, the program continues and then jumps back to _fibLoop.


Jumps and calls are not the same. Their start is each a location to which the process can transfer control. Labels can be accessed by jumps. They just continue to process one instruction after the next until something changes the program counter.

Functions are called by a statement. Functions have a “ret” statement at the end. When that statement is reached, the program returns to the statement immediately following the call. If you jump to a function, the return address has not been pushed onto the stack. Therefore, there is no guarantee where the program would go when the top item on the stack is popped.

Calls return to the statement following the call. Jumps just change which code is being executed. Choose wisely on what you want to happen.

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Change “Why Me” to “What Now”

Sometimes we face really tough times. Those times come with life. The worst are often when we learn the most. I know I often do not enjoy those times, but they have opened up interesting opportunities for me. When hard things happen, it is too easy to say: “Why Me!” I learned that if I ask “What now” instead, many opportunities arise. It just takes me to change my “mindset” so that I can see those opportunities.

For me, to get out of the “Why Me” mindset, I must turn away from activities that waste my time. My downfall is Solitaire. My great excuse is that it is keeping my brain “sharp.” This time could be better spent planning a lesson for my class, relearning Danish (or some other language), or developing skills that will generate an alternate stream of income. Once time is spent, it never comes back. What do you do to overcome the “What Me” mindset?

Exercise is also a good “relaxer.” It gives me time to put my planning on the back burner. Often this leads to breakthrough ideas. It has so many other benefits. How do you transition to a state of mind that you are open to new ideas? Do you evaluate those ideas and then act on the ideas that are interesting to you? Not all ideas will pan out, but trying always eventually pays off.

I wish you all the best in changing your Why Me to What Now!

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Don’t Act, Be!

I recently saw an interesting movie with a good, but previously used, plot. It had one good actor, mostly adequate actors in supporting roles, and one actor in a major role who tried too hard. When someone has read books on acting and tries to act the emotion required for a scene, it just does not work. If she had just thought about how she would personally feel in a particular scene instead of forcing the emotions, it would be a much better movie.

I was thinking about how that relates to us in our lives. Sometimes we act a certain way because we imagine that is the way those around us would want us to act. This rarely works. People who know us know when we are being authentic. Even if they may not notice, or do not say something, we know deep down that something is not right. It is best to be honest with ourselves and be true to our core principals. Any act might succees for a short amount of time, but it cannot last.

Being ourselves requires a sincere attitude and consistent actions, No one can maintain a facade for any length of time. It is so much easier to be ourselves and treat others with the love and respect we would like for ourselves. We must remember to “Be!” Acting requires too much energy.

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Teach for Subject Mastery

Too often courses are taught in a way to have students go for the grade instead of mastering a particular subject. As teachers, we need to teach for subject mastery for each course’s particular subject before building on that mastery to understand further aspects of the chosen subject. For example, in computer science it is important for students the general purpose for telling a computer what to do before learning the basic syntax of any computer programming language. After learning the basic syntax of a particular language, students can then progress to learn progressively more complex constructs.

To teach a student how to master a subject, the teacher needs to master each concept before it is taught. Students are intelligent, they know when a teacher is spewing untruths or exaggerations. Middle school students are usually more honest and will say something to the teacher. Just because a student does not say anything does not mean they do not notice.

Teaching How to Learn

Teaching students how to learn is just as important as teaching the material. If students know how to learn, it makes teaching so much easier. The only downside is that some subjects learn quickly, so teachers need to at least keep up with the student. When one student masters a topic that needs to be taught, if they would like to do so, I sometime let them coteach that particular topic. It gives that student confidence and provides another person from whom the students are able to learn.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy is a good way to help students achieve a higher level of learning. Vanderbilt University has a good history of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The taxonomy can be considered a pyramid with remembering the facts as the first step and going up to the Create stage. The diagrams from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching is:

The higher we can get ourselves up this pyramid, the more opportunities we have to help our students progress as far. In an ideal world, out students will progress far beyond what we teach them.

Knowing can Lead to Mastering

Salman “Sal” Amin Khan is an educator who started tutoring his nephew and posting these videos to YouTube. When he realized that more people than just his relatives were watching his videos, he created the Khan Academy where people can go for tutoring help on a growing number of topics. His concept of mastering material is a shift from the typical semester-based teaching which is done in most schools. Schools are limited by the calendar, so the key is to modify courses to help students master the subject in the given amount of time. The teacher cannot do all of the work of helping each student, so students need to be encouraged to help each other master the material. Sal Khan gave an informative TED Talk giving his ideas of how this might be accomplished.

Sal Khan TED Talk – Let’s Teach for Mastery

Communication and Personal Responsibility

We are each responsible for our own mastering of any topic. We must have passion for a topic and perseverance to teach it well. This sometimes referred to as “Grit.” Having passion for a topic makes helping students internalize the material so much easier. Another aspect to helping students to master a subject is to show you care. Remember: “things break, “Things Break, People Matter.” Helping student gain a love for the subject and gain mastery on their own helps the class and the instructor. When I have some students who know the material and are willing to help other students, this frees up my time to help those who may be struggling to understand what is being taught. Use all available resources wisely.


In each class, there are teacher responsibilities, student responsibilities, and mutual responsibilities. It is best to plot out these responsibilities. I used a column chart to do this. It could also be done in a Venn diagram. Creating a diagram like this does help us teach to subject mastery.


Assessments too often require memorization of facts that do not help the student learn for subject mastery. It is important to assess learning, but I do it through an additional assignment for each lesson that the student should be able to do on their own. Teaching for Subject Mastery should limit memorization for the purpose of “regurgitating facts without understanding what those facts mean and how to use them. Eric Mazur created a interesting video entitle “Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning.”


Much of the material in this article is based on what I have been recently learning. This knowledge has been supplemented by a class for teachers about Online Learning., taught at Front Range Community College in Colorado.

When we teach for subject mastery, students earn better grades in the current class. They will have the knowledge base to do well with future classes in the same or similar subject areas. Be patient but expect much. High expectations paired with good communication skills and transferring a deep understanding of the course material achieves wonderful results both for the teacher and the students.

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Things Break, People Matter

I heard this phrase a few weeks ago in Church, and I have been thinking about it since then. People are far more important in our lives than things. It may take some of us a while to realize that, but the sooner we understand the importance of other people in our lives the better our lives will be. Treating things (or an organization’s budget) as more important than the people.


There are good leaders and bad managers. I have seen both. Good leaders care about the people and do everything they can to make each individual succeed. Bad managers look at the bottom line and if that means letting members of the team go, they do not hesitate. Good leaders may struggle with their budgets, but there are things that they can change or eliminate to keep the people who help the organization succeed.


In families, especially with young children, things fall and break. That happens. Accept it. Most of the time, it is an accident. My reaction is what is important. How do I treat the children in my home when something breaks? How do I react? What lesson did I learn? What lesson did the child learn? Things Break, People Matter. I believe that families are important. It is painful if there is an empty chair around the dining room table. Part of the People Matter part of that phrase is raising children to become adults with whom you want to associate. Helping each child to choose their own path and to have the tools to succeed is even more important than working with people in an organization.


I know that taking care of others and helping them to succeed has to start with myself. I cannot help others unless I am in a place where I have the tools and means to do so. It is difficult, but making sure that people are more important than things is vital for any family or organization to succeed.

Things Break, People Matter

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Good Leaders Guide, Bad Managers Dictate

The terms leader and manager are too often used interchangeably. They may be complimentary responsibilities, but they are not the same. Both should know where they want their team to go, but leaders get to know the members of their team and motivate each member to do his or her best to help the team reach the desired goal. A manager is more interested in the tracking process details. The ideal leader can combine both aspects well.

In all my years in the work force, I have seen both good leaders and bad managers. A good leader always knows the people on their team and each member’s strengths and weaknesses. Good leaders learn what they can delegate to each individual and know the task will be completed well. A bad manager tells subordinates exactly what to do and how to do it. Even then the bad manager may not trust the team member to actually accomplish the task. Even if the task is done well, the bad manager might curtly thank the person for the work and then proceed to tell the team member all the things the team member needs to do differently. Changing the goals without buy-in from the team member is a quick avenue towards the failure of the team.


1775 is a good year to demonstrate the difference between good leadership and bad management. In the short term, bad management will often win. In the long term, good leadership will usually win. Leading up to 1775, Great Britain kept raising taxes without giving the colonists any say in how those taxes would be spent. After too many poor decisions, bad management leads to revolts. In the case of the colonists, it led to the slogan “Taxation without Representation” and eventually the American Revolution. People always want a say in their own future. That is still true today, especially on any team. In contrast, George Washington was willing to listen to those around him and give people (most of the time) input into any major decisions. He was good at this. That is one reason why he was asked to be the General of the Army and eventually President of the United States. The bad management of Great Britian, their use of fear, led to the rise of George Washington as a great leader.


Good leaders serve those on their team to develop skills needed to create a better product and efficiently complete any project. A bad manager likes to be in total control and believes they know more about any problem than any member of their team. To keep control, the worst manager often rules through fear. Think of the British in the 1775 example. Both good leaders and bad managers identify the strongest members of their teams. The best leader helps that person develop those skills and talents to best serve their team. The worst manager recognizes those skills and considers the team member a threat to the manager’s control and makes sure that person receives no credit for any of team’s success.

Remember “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A good leader treats all team members with the respect they would like for themselves.

Team Member Responsibility

Team Members are a vital ingredient to the successful completion of any project. As was presented earlier, each person brings their own experiences to any project. A good leader should know each team member’s strengths, capabilities, and growth areas. A leader knows the goals for each project. Members are usually assigned parts of the project for which they excel. If a team member wants to learn new skills, a good leader can provide opportunities on small pieces of a new project. If a team member has done similar assignments before, they may need little help. For new areas, the team member might need a mentor to progress past the member’s comfort zone. The mentor usually is assigned a related area of the project so that they can work naturally together.

The bad managers I have seen appear to think that team members are interchangeable. The worst managers tell each team member what they must do and how to do it, forgetting that each team member has expertise in particular areas and may even have more experience than the manager.

Team members need respect and to be given assignments that will allow them to succeed. Often the assignments are based on the team member’s experience. Occasionally, with team member’s agreement, the team member may be given assignments expanding their field of expertise to help them grow and innovate.

Processes and Tools

All teams that need good leaders. I am most familiar with teams that develop products (and students). Using a company’s preferred set of tools, a good leader develops plans to fully utilize the people available. At Tektronix we used processes that eventually evolved into the Agile Manifesto. One of the most used implementations of the Agile Manifesto is the Scrum Methodology. Tools are aids to complete projects. Tools may vary from sticky notes on a large wall in the office to online project tracking tools. Using a combination of these tools is the most effective. Every time we came into our team area at Tektronix, the sticky notes reminded us of where we were exactly on the development of our project. As reached the release date, it was exciting to watch the last few sticky notes being marked as completed.


Team pulling project to completion with Leaders/Managers deciding the best way to help or control
Leaders/Managers watching team formation and deciding if they are a leader or a manager.

A team consists of a group of individuals pulling a project forward. A leader is a member of that team and works with the team members to move the project forward. The organization chooses who would be best to lead the development of the project. A good leader leads from the front and guides the team to a successful conclusion. A bad manager often sits on the block and tells the team members what to do and where to go. The results of these two types of direction are usually similar to the results from the 1775 example. It is far better having a good leader for an important project than a bad manager. A good leader should always strive to be the best possible leader for the success of any project.

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Teams Provide Platform for Individual Innovation

From my experiences at Tektronix and Hewlett-Packard as a team member and team lead, I find that bouncing ideas around in a team lead to some spectacular individual results.Too often, something said in jest triggers some very creative ideas. Good engineers produce good work, good engineers in teams, produce excellent work.

We often used brainstorming meetings at the beginning of projects.As long as we did not make fun of any comment, the best ideas would slowly rise to the top. Brainstorming is a great tool to start off any project. We then started to identify and prioritize tasks that needed to be completed for this project to go well. Often this was accomplished through an Agile Methology tool. There are an array of tools available, from CDC Cards through the Scrum Methodogy.

Sometimes each task goes smoothly and there is not much channge to the initial plan. As roadblocks and other occurences happen, achieving the next goal can become very difficult. Good communication is a slight plus to any project. Data collection during the process is a vital part of each projects success. Reviewing that data leads to more efficient processes for the current and future projects.

A good example of a project with a team goal and the opportunity to allow individual to shine was the Apollo missions to the moon. The goal was to safely get atronaunts to the moon and then back safely. One of the early divisions of this project was to independently produce the Saturn memory modules and the lunar lander software. These worked spectacularly well.

Teams provide opportunities for members to help each other succeed in ways that were not envisioned at the start of a project. Good engineers produce good work, good engineers in teams, produce excellent work.

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The Holy Ghost

At my Church, the members give talks each Sunday. I came across this talk I gave a few years ago when I was going through some old papers. At this stage in my life reading this talk was important to me. It has been an interesting four weeks. W are all on Earth to learn. Sometimes the lessons are harder than others. But with the Holy Ghost we can look forward with hope knowing that there are solutions to any problem.

The Talk

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” 2 Nephi 2:27.  Many parts of my talk will be from 2 Nephi chapter 2, for that is where I am in my reading of the Book of Mormon.  Right now in my life, I feel similar to the way Joseph Smith might have felt when he was fifteen.  Joseph said:  “if any person needed bwisdom from God, I did” (Extracts from the History of Joseph, the Prophet 1:12).   There are many times in my life, I have had these feelings, and each time I felt this way and acted upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost, good results happened.  We may not see those results immediately, but through the Holy Ghost’s promptings we can know we are doing what is right and righteous in God’s sight.  There is a promise that is made that if we lack wisdom and we truly want to understand the will of God in our lives, to read the Book of Mormon.  It is a beautiful companion to The Holy Bible and further testifies of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Most of my talk will be from 2 Nephi, Lehi’s farewell address to his sons.  Chapter 2 is the portion that addresses Jacob, Lehi’s first-born in the wilderness.  The whole chapter is something I need to read when I need to search for the counsel that Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost, would have me have at this time.  The one personage that I need as a close companion in order to understand what is being said in this chapter is the Holy Ghost.  It is the Holy Ghost that truly explains the meaning of all things to us.  If it were not for the Holy Ghost, there would be no personal insights and, for that matter, no inventions in this world.

The Holy Ghost is our primary tool to understanding the will of God in our lives.  He is the primary force to counteract the wiles of the adversary.  But, like any relationship, to fully understand the influences of the Holy Ghost, we need to be in communication with God through daily (constant) prayer and daily reading of the scriptures.  We ask God, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, for the things we need to grow in the ways of the Lord.  The answers to our prayers come from the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  For example, I came home from my job teaching in Greeley at 11:00 PM.  I prayed to receive guidance on what I would say about the Holy Ghost.  I woke up at 3:30 AM with ideas for various parts of this talk.  I would prefer not being up at 3:30 AM, but through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I knew I would not be able to remember all of the parts I am supposed to remember if I went back to sleep.  The Still Small Voice whispers to us and we need to take advantage of what He says when He says it, or we may lose that opportunity forever.

The Light of Christ (Our Conscious)

We all have the Light of Christ, which tells us if we are doing right.  Some people refer to it as our conscious.  The Holy Ghost is more.  The Holy Ghost can be a guide in our lives as to what we need to be doing to better serve God, ourselves, and our families.  As is mentioned in the scriptures, anyone can be touched by the Holy Ghost when they need to make important decisions.  However, we can receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost through membership in Christ’s restored Church.  It is up to us to live worthily so that we can enjoy that privilege.

How many of you have seen the movie Cars?  What was Lightning McQueen’s personality at the first of the movie?  How did he treat his pit crew?  Would you want him for a friend?  I sometimes listen to CDs on the way home from Greeley and was listening to the soundtrack of Cars the other night.  There are many good songs on the CD, but there was one that especially touched me that night.  Do you remember the part of the movie where he starts to see the importance of service to others?  Do you remember the song that played during that scene?  The line I remember most is “When you lose yourself, it is the best thing that ever happens.”  At that point, do you suppose the person that Lightning represents just might be a little in tune with the Holy Ghost?  For the youth, how many of you have received the Holy Ghost as a constant companion or look forward to when you can receive that gift?

What do we gain from service?  What do we gain from listening to the Holy Ghost to guide us to the opportunities we may have to serve others?  King Benjamin stated in Mosiah 2:17 “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”  There is that wisdom word again.  How does the Holy Ghost help us develop wisdom?  I would contend that the only way any of us can gain wisdom is through listening to the Holy Ghost.


Service is important to our eternal salvation.  It is through the Holy Ghost that we are prompted how we best need to serve our God, ourselves, our families, our community, and our Church.  If we do not serve our God and ourselves, through prayer, education, diligence in all that we do, and finding innovative solutions to problems, we cannot serve others.  As we serve, some of us are blessed with fantastic opportunities and careers.  Others may be blessed at times, and still others may struggle their entire lives.  We all know people who fit into all of these categories.  What I admire about the people I know is how they love God and take care of their families, along with using the resources God has given them to serve others.  To build the kingdom, God needs people who love Him with all their heart and mind and are humble enough to be guided by the Holy Ghost. Besides love from each of us, sometimes God needs financial and material resources.  I am personally grateful for those who have such resources and are willing to share generously to build up the kingdom here on earth.  God only expects from each of us what we are capable of giving at any particular time in our lives, no more and no less.  To truly understand what we need to do to serve others, we also must be willing to be served.  There are times in each of our lives that we do need the help of others.  We must all be humble enough, and be guided by the Holy Ghost to understand when those times are and to be able to graciously accept that help when it is needed.  When we know what service is, through the service others have given unto us, we can be better guided by the Holy Ghost to lovingly serve others by discerning their true needs and serve as God would have us serve.

2 Nephi 2:11 says “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.  If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.  Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibilities.”  Our goal is to bring righteousness to pass.  The devil will help us do the opposite.  We each need the Holy Ghost to give opposition to the evil that is around us.  As a side note, have you ever thought about the word devil (da evil)?  Evil is 4/5 of his name.  To avoid evil, we must avoid the devil and cling tight to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.


The promptings of the Holy Ghost are to remind us of whom we are and who redeemed us from the dead.  “And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.  And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.”  2 Nephi 2:26.  We have our freedom to act in whatever way we would like.  But we will be accountable to God, through the judgment of Jesus Christ, for all that we do here on earth.  It is the promptings of the Holy Ghost that helps each of us to make wise choices.


In closing, God wants each of us to have joy in our lives.  Jesus Christ is our guide and savior.  He guides each of us, through the Holy Ghost, to do what is right and righteous so that we can live with Heavenly Father again.  It is through the promptings of the Holy Ghost that we can live up to our potential.  Our purpose here on earth can be summed up by 2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.”  With the Holy Ghost we can obtain the joy that Jesus Christ wants each of us to have.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Using Arrays in Java

This article tells users the fundamental uses of Java Arrays. Java, or any other programming language, has similar definitions on how to use arrays. An array is a grouping of the same types of variables into an indexable structure. A one-dimensional array is defined in Java in the form of:

String[] strings = new String[SIZE];

The first “String[]” tells the compiler that a String array is being declared. The “string” is the variable reference for the rest of the program. The “new” allocates memory for the String array. The String[SIZE] tells the compiler to allocated SIZE times the space needed to store addresses to Strings in memory for this array.

When computers were first used, memory was very expensive. It was a bad idea to waste any memory to make programming easier to understand. Thus, the pointer to the first element of an array is the same as the pointer to the array itself. The offset or index of an element of an array is based on the offset from the base of array to its location. Since the first element is at the same address as the array, its offset is zero (0). A simple diagram may be helpful.

Array Address vs First Element Address
Addressing the First Member of the Array

Parallel Arrays

Often arrays are defined one-dimensional (single-dimensional). To have related information easily accessible, parallel arrays were often used. For example, the fifth element of one array was related to the fifth element of a second array in the same way as the second element of the first array is related to the second element of the second array. If the relationship is a brand of a car in the first array to a model of vehicle in the second array an example would be Ford and F-150 in the two arrays at the same index. Another example would be Toyota and Rav 4 at the same index in the two arrays. A Chart might be helpful:

String[] brands = new String[SIZE];
String[] models = new String[SIZE];

To function properly, the two arrays must be of the same size.

Parallel Arrays
Parallel Arrays

Two-Dimensional Array

It may be easier to combine the information into a single two-dimensional array. In the above example, each row would contain the make and model similar to the parallel array in the previous example. So, the first row could contain Toyota and Rav 4 while the second row could contain Ford and F-150. There is no practical limit to the number of rows and columns in a two-dimensional array. An example of a two-dimensional array with five rows and 4 columns follows. The row can be considered addresses to the content of each column. The definition is:

String[][] vehicles = new String[ROWS][COLUMNS];

Where ROWS indicates the number of rows used (in the following example, 5) and COPLUMNS indicates the number of columns used (in the following example, 4).

Two-Dimensional Array
Two-Dimensional Array


Arrays are very helpful. They store information that is interchangeable so that the same code will handle two different elements in the same one-dimensional array or in the same column of a two-dimensional array. I leave with the following video.

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