Monthly Archives: April 2010

Weekend miscellany

Apple and Flash Thoughts on Flash (Steve Jobs’ letter) Astoundingly Hypocritical (Mike Schuster’s response) Beer Periodic table of beer styles A beginner’s guide to craft beers Minimalism Side effects of getting rid of stuff Characters from multiple languages Copy miscellaneous

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Definition of faith

C. S. Lewis wrote that Faith is holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. When someone says “I can’t believe it’s Tuesday” he really means that he does believe it’s Tuesday, but

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Simple approximation to normal distribution

Here’s a simple approximation to the normal distribution I just ran across. The density function is f(x) = (1 + cos(x))/2π over the interval (-π, π). The plot below graphs this density with a solid blue line. For comparison, the

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Posted in Math, Statistics

Daily tip winner and statistics

Giveaway winner Nicholas Dunn is the winner of the Twitter daily tip giveaway. A coveted RegexTip coffee mug is on its way. Update (5 May 2010): Nick posted a photo of his mug. Follower statistics I ran some statistics on

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Posted in Math

Chauffeurs and Ferraris revisited

About a year ago I wrote a post Would you rather have chauffeur or a Ferrari? commenting on an analogy by Dan Bricklin. Fictional computers such as the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey were envisioned as chauffeurs. You

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Posted in Software development

Freebies and entitlement

Take away a freebie and people will hate you. The latest EconTalk podcast relates a story of people who harbored a grudge against the Red Cross for decades. What did the Red Cross do that was so bad? They sold

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Posted in Business

Weekend miscellany

Design So you need a typeface What web design can learn from the harpsichord Apple, Windows Phone 7, and burning the boats Twitter Anatomy of a Tweet (data structure far more that 140 characters) @TeXtip, daily tips for TeX and

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Did automobile accidents decrease?

Here’s a homework problem from a class I taught: … In past years, the average number of accidents per year was 15, and this year it was 10. Is it justified to claim that the accident rate has dropped? The

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Posted in Statistics

Visual Studio 2010 is a pig

Visual Studio 2010 has not made a good first impression. It took about a day to install. I was using the Visual Studio Ultimate Web Installer and much of the time was spent downloading bits. I’m sure it would have

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Posted in Software development

20 why posts

Twenty “why” posts from this blog: Why programmers are not paid in proportion to their productivity Why 90% solutions beat 100% solutions Why Unicode is subtle Why programmers write unneeded code Why care about spherical trig? Why Shakespeare is hard

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Routine statistics

From David Cox: There are no routine statistical questions, only questionable statistical routines.

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Posted in Statistics

Burnout

Here’s the best explanation of burnout I’ve seen: … burning out isn’t just about work load, it’s about work load being greater than the motivation to do work. The context is a former consultant saying that heavy course loads at

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Posted in Business

Two meanings of “argument”

The most common use of the word “argument” is to describe a disagreement.  So the first time you hear “argument” to mean something you pass into a function (either a mathematical function or a programming language function), it sounds odd.

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Weekend miscellany

Entrepreneurship Not disruptive, and proud of it Twitter Daily tip T-shirt giveaway Woodworking Exotic lumber Computing Life as a system administrator at 37signals Problems with software libraries Notes from using Emacs on Windows so far Music How much do musicians

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Eclectic mix podcast

If you’re looking for a way to discover some new music, check out Eclectic Mix. The show lives up to its name, featuring all kinds of music. For example, here’s a show with Latin Giants of Jazz and here’s one

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Posted in Music