31 August, 2011

today is blog day

Today is blog day (well, today isn't, it's the 19th of May, but hurrah for autopost)

I'm supposed to recommend 5 blogs to you.

I'm also supposed to find *new* blogs. But FTS, I'm too lazy. Plus I know the ones listed here are ones that I know I go back to day after day and find useful.

Oglaf is some dude's NSFW comic that started out as an attempt at cartoon porn but now is mostly funny. The shield maiden is my favourite post.

Hacker News from ycombinator - kinda like slashdot in that its a lot of interesting geek links. More links. Less discussion. Feels more intimate, and more focused around the bay area startup crowd.

Lambda the ultimate - a programming languages weblog. A cross between programming and maths. If you like Haskell, you'll like this, though all sorts of language stuff (theory, design) is talked about. You can also laugh at the "amusing" paper titles that authors come up with.

In a bit of shameless self promotion, I'll point you at the drupal news feed for my hobby project, barwen.ch - this is partly blog, partly just a web page change tracker.

Finally, Bruce Schneier's security blog. Aside from his tendency to ramble on about squids, this is pretty interesting. It evolved out of his company newsletter, and talks mostly about computer security but also about other related topics such as social engineering and terrorism. And squid.

27 August, 2011

Exbibyte divergence.

Mostly used by debian crackheads, but slowly becoming more widespread (and apparently also defined by the IEC) is the use of kibibyte to mean a kilobyte measured as 1024 bytes, so that KB can be used to mean kilobyte measured as 1000 bytes. There's a 2.4% difference between the two.

Correspondingly there is Mibibyte, Gibibyte, tebibyte, pebibyte, exbibyte, zebibyte, and yobibyte.

While the difference is only 2.4% at the kibibyte scale, it gets bigger with larger prefixes: by the time you get to petabytes, the scale of the largest file systems I have access to these days, the difference is over 12% and by yobibytes its 20%

20 August, 2011

brazen sms charging

Its fairly obvious for anyone who thinks about it for a while that SMS is appalling bad value per-byte compared to IP or voice over the same system.

But Orange UK really made me laugh/cry with the brazen way in which they juxtaposed two menu options to make it so clear:

To buy 50 UK SMSes valid for a day for 1 pound, press 1.
 To buy 50 Mb of data valid for a day for 1 pound, press 2.

Yes, 1 UK SMS == 1 Mb of internet data.


13 August, 2011

y2.1k bug

a decade into this century, and I see plenty of people using 2 digit years. we all know where that's leading...

06 August, 2011

auctions in course allocation

Apparently some universities use an auction mechanism for allocation of places in courses, as detailed for example in page three of this memo from NYU.

Very briefly describing this in quotes:
  • Students will be allotted bidding points
  • After an auction is run, students admitted to a class will be charged a “clearing price” in points equal to the highest bid from a student not admitted to the class at that auction.