Monthly Archive: February 2006

Why computer programmers should become lawyers

Our property class hasn’t covered a single case in a couple weeks. We spent the time pouring over some archane definitions of components of the estate system, trying to figure out what estates are created by a conveyance or a will, and did a whole series of practice problems. Some sample conveyances were apparently not written in the cleanest and the most unambiguous way. In a class setting they make students scratch their heads. In the real world they are the cause to much litigation.

An idea: all lawyers should learn to write computer programs. In case of dispute, just feed the program into a computer and see what the result is. This way, you still have a lot of flexibility and room for creativity, but know ahead of time who your judge is (the computer), how your program will be interpreted (the compiler), and can test your program ahead of time to make sure nothing is a miss (debugging).

So a typical conveyance would look like this:

Person A, B, C, D, E;


while (B.isAlive()){}

while (C.isAlive() && C.isMarried()) {}

if (!C.isAlive()) D.takeTitle();
else E.takeTitle();

But, on second thought, ambiguities and controversies keep many lawyers happily employed, so perhaps the status quo is OK.

Long day

Five hours in the car, 300 miles roundtrip. When I was driving westbound on I-96 early this morning and saw the sun rising in the rear view mirror, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t seen sunrise in a long time, much less seen one while driving.

Hard Drive, Long Drive, Lost in Motion

My thinkpad crashed for the second time in three months. This time I called the IBM tech support and asked for a new hard drive. They said they didn’t have any in stock, and the earliest shipment would arrive almost two weeks later. Not a good sign.

For the first time this semester, I am feeling really exhausted, after all that hassling with tech support and reinstalling my laptop. I am also driving to Grand Rapids tomorrow, which is about 2.5 hours each way. I am a little concerned about whether I can still speak coherent and complete sentences when I wake up at 6:00 a.m., but we will see.

However, I’d much rather do early morning driving than that Motion for Summary Judgment to be handed in by Friday of next week. It’s one thing to understand what a Motion for Summary Judgment is in the civil procedure class, but it’s another thing to actually write one in Legal Practice. So, after five hours of driving tomorrow, hopefully I still have enough energy left to at least get the Motion started.

Moon, lens and camera

Took a photo of the full moon.
KonicaMinolta Maxxum 5D
Minolta 100-300mm APO (D) at 300mm
f11, 1/320s, handheld.
A lot of sharpening. The lens is not as sharp as I had hoped, but for a long zoom it’s quite good.

About this time last year I sold my 24-105mm (D) and 100-300mm APO (D), thinking that 1) I will be buying and using prime lenses or f2.8 zooms for their sharpness and 2) Minolta will come out with SSM versions of the cheaper zooms. Unfortunately I was wrong on both counts. 1) I have a number of primes now, and they are sharp, but I hate changing lenses, and the f2.8 zooms are prohibitively heavy and expensive, especially since Minolta no longer makes them. 2) With the Minolta brand absorbed into Sony, I don’t see a chance for any future Minolta branded SSM lenses.

So, I went on ebay and bought the now hard-to-find 100-300mm APO (D), and will probably buy another 24-105mm (D) in the next few months.

As far as cameras go, I have no desire to buy any Sony branded DSLRs or switch to Canon/Nikon, so I will probably have to make do with the ones I have at hand and, when they go kaputt, scavenge on fleabay for replacements.

My Valentine

When other people went out to romantic dinners over candle lights, I watched Anna through the Web cam. Days ago I had a debate with Ping over whether Anna understands what we say: Ping said Anna understands, and I said no way because she’s only 9 months old whatever you saw was merely coincidence. Today I was conclusively proved to be wrong.

At the other end of the line, Ping says to Anna, “Where is your flower, Anna?”
Anna looks down at her shirt and touches the flower pattern in it.

“Where’s mommy?”
Anna turns around and looks at the door. That’s where mom comes in when she gets home from work everyday.

“Where’s daddy?”
Anna looks up at the computer screen and waves her little hands. I bet she was amused by the reaction on my face.

This is the best Valentine’s Day gift, ever.

Sleet, Snow, Sweet & Low, LLP

I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since my last blog entry. It looks like my blog addiction has been miraculously cured, well, until tonight.

Sleet, Snow

Such is the Michigan winter weather. It’s been snowing on and off over the past week or so, and the end is nowhere in sight. I don’t dislike cold weather in particular, and having experienced the bitter coldness in Beijing, Ann Arbor isn’t really all that bad, but I have to admit that this is getting a little depressing.

Sweet & Low

Over the weekend I finished the take-home final for my “Constitutionalism in South Africa” course and felt pretty good about the things I put down on those ten pages. Ping flew in a couple days ago to visit the b-school and left before I started the exam, so it’s been a sweet weekend for me.

But not too sweet. When Ping was here she marveled at how I was using “Sweet & Low” instead of regular sugar for my coffee, as I had always been doing. I doubt if it is healthier than regular sugar, but at least I am not putting on more weight and getting more cavities from the sweetness.

So this is going to be at the end of the Motion for Summary Judgment assignment for my legal practice class:

Respectfully submitted,
Sleet, Snow, Sweet & Low, LLP
By Littlenorth, Esq.
Attorney for Plaintiff

One course done

This past Thursday was the last lecture for my “Constitutionalism in South Africa” course. In a little over three weeks, we managed to complete the 2-credit course (assuming everyone passes), which is part of the reason I signed up for it — I can use the rest of the semester to focus on the 1L foundation classes.

But there is a price to be paid for cramming so much stuff in less than a month. The two-and-1/4 hour long lectures were held three nights a week, making me feel like I am going to a night school in addition to my day job as a law student, and leaving me very little time to read for other classes, or to writing my blog.