Can you descrive your job using only the 1000 most common words in the English language? The Up Goer Five XKCD comic inspired the Up-Goer Five text editor, which tells you if you've entered allowed words. Here's my attempt (it's not exactly right, but it's not too far off):
I tell computers how to let people place money on which team they think will lose a match before it ends, or how many times the ball will cross one of two lines and go between two bits of wood. I take some of that money for helping them out. I tell computers how to decide which team will lose a match. Other people don't agree with that. I take their money. Also, I tell computers how to place money on both teams in a way that lets me make money no matter which team loses or how many times the ball crosses the line.
This is *extremely* worrying. I don't care how offensive his joke may have been. He should be able to say what he wants. The USA has a corrupt society with many, many problems. But right now, I am extremely jealous of their written constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.
The music industry isn't what it used to be. It's increasingly hard to sell albums, and bands are becoming more and more reliant on selling merch at live shows. There are some upsides to this. I'll leave out T-shirts for now and just talk about CDs. The most obvious upside one is that the band gets a much higher percentage of the sale than if the customer had bought the same CD in a shop or online. I don't know the exact figures these days, but it used to be that a band would get maybe £2 (and that's an optimistic figure) from a CD sale, of which half went to the songwriter(s) and half went to the artist(s). However, when selling a CD at a gig, there is no distributor to pay, no retailer to take a cut and so on, so the band directly get the sale price, less whatever it cost to make the CD (or buy it at trade price from the record label).
So, it's in the band's financial interest to maximize the number of in person sales at shows. I have personal experience of this in a slightly different field, selling Ferret's book. We discount it 25% when selling in person, because it encourages sales and we still make more than when people buy it through other channels (retailers and distributors typically only pay 50% of RRP or less). So I find it baffling when I look at bands' pricing of CDs. Last night, for example, Ensiferum were selling their latest album for £20. Huh? I can buy the same album (including the bonus DVD) for £10 online, including free shipping. Why would I pay you twice as much for the privilege of buying it in person? I'm happy to buy in person as doing so supports the band and makes it more likely that they'll make more music in the future. But doubling the price? Seriously? If you'd priced it at £8, I'd have bought one and you'd still have made significantly more than you'll get when I buy it online. Hell, I'd probably have bought it at £12, and you'd almost certainly have sold many more copies. I just don't understand the logic behind the pricing here.
 That's not strictly true. We make the most when people buy through Amazon, but only because we're exploiting a loophole in the process. We're making the most of it while it lasts, but I'm sure they'll close the loophole at some point.
An interesting experiment. What happens when you get a woman to read literature while
an assistant applies a Hitachi magic wand to her nether regions under the table?
Clayton Cubit did just that.
It seems you get porn, without any actual porn. It's NSFW for the prudish.
I wish the US Republican party were the one Clint Eastwood seems to think it is. They'd be quite electable were that true. I worry that they'll be electable given the current state of the party anyway...
Today I learned that The Washington Post is so called because it's published in Washington, not Washington. In hindsight, it was obvious. But that's not the association my brain first made when I heard about the paper, and I guess it stuck. FWIW, I made exactly the same incorrect association when it came to the Washington Redskins.
Some people think I'm paranoid. I wouldn't say so. It's just that I pay more attention to the potential worst case outcome that some. So when it comes to storage, I have a mirrored RAID array in my home server. The contents are backed up to a separate disk in the same machine. I also have an offsite backup in a datacentre.
My offsite backup machine died, and is now sat at home waiting for me to rebuild it. So it was somewhat alarming when my backup drive also died. Uncomfortable about running with less redundancy than normal, I immediately went out and bought a replacement drive. When checking the drives in the machine to see which one I needed to pull out, I noticed that one of the mirrored drives had also failed and the array was running in degraded state. Eeeek! Of my four levels of redundancy, three had failed. If I'd had fewer, I'd be screwed right now!
I'm not sure why I wasn't notified about the RAID failure. Normally I automatically get an email when the array enters a degraded state. That's something I need to look into. For now, the array is rebuilding. I'll fit the new backup drive when I get home this evening.
Two people were looking up directions on an online map via a smartphone. One read out to the other "it's a 500ft walk from the station". The other replied "Feet? That's a bit archaic, isn't it? How far's that? Why don't they use standard units?"
This pleases me. The country was just starting the transition to metric units when I was born, so I've grown up with metric units. I embraced metric units wholeheartedly, but many of my generation (probably in part due to parental influence) didn't. But time passes, and now it seems that imperial units are seen as archaic. About time too.
I've just returned from a weekend in Belgium. I brought back with me two things; a stinking cold and a broken camera. The former's an annoyance, but I'm sure I'll get over it in a few days. The latter has really pissed me off, though. I was there for the annual Metal Female Voices Festival.
( Read more...Collapse )