The Expert

February 19th, 2017

This never gets old.

Leap Day and a Year Is Not a Date

February 11th, 2016

Yes, we all know about leap years.  However, it is really easy to forget in November that today’s month and day, plus 1 year is not a valid date for all values of “today”.

I fondly recall a 5-alarm product failure in which all of our automated install tests failed one day (guess the date) because our 5-year certificates could not be created.  I promised – with confidence – that I would have it fixed by tomorrow morning…


For your entertainment and edification, here is an article I enjoyed about developers testing their own code.

QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv.
— Bill Sempf (@sempf) September 23, 2014

Internal Compiler Error – not what it looks like

June 5th, 2012

One of my (new) fellow programmers just ran into one of our tribal-knowledge-required issues.

fatal error C1001: INTERNAL COMPILER ERROR (compiler file ‘msc1.cpp …

Sometimes, this just means that your code is nested too deeply. Shorten your path.

This applies to C++ in Visual Studio 6.

There.  Now googlebot will find the answer for us the next time.

Link Clearance: Some interesting (?) stuff I found on the net

December 19th, 2011

Beware credit card euphoria (subscriber link)

Similar information here:

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that using a credit card induces euphoria.

Like a starry-eyed new lover who ignores the downsides of an obviously incompatible but very attractive partner, consumers who swipe plastic when they buy are often blinded to the true costs of their purchases. They even tend to exaggerate the perceived benefits of whatever they’re buying, according to research by Promothesh Chatterjee of the University of Kansas and Randall L. Rose or University of South Carolina.

This research actually goes well beyond what we’ve known previously about the impact of credit card use on consumer behavior. The old information — that consumers tend to spend 15%-30% more when paying with plastic — was bad enough. It turns out that our actual perceptions of products is different when we’re paying with a credit card. Sounds crazy, but here’s the research.

Researchers primed subjects using traditional behavioral study methods, such as making them play words games which focused their attention either on credit cards or on cash. Then they gave the consumers information on items they could theoretically buy, such as a notebook computer or an iPhone. Repeatedly, consumers “primed” to think about credit cards had a harder time recalling products’ price or other downsides.

“Our findings suggest that marketers may be affecting not just the amount of money consumers are willing to spend but also the nature of the goods and services that find their way into consumers’ market baskets,” the report says.


How to rob a bank without going to jail:

Stop when the story is over.  The MC has a foul mouth and small vocabulary.

What’s Virgin Mean?

Marriage Lessons at Herman Cain’s Expense

Very wise.


The Elevator


Schrodinger’s cat (via facebook)



Symphonic music played on wine glasses.


Sam Harris: The Truth about Violence:3 Principles of Self Defense

(I don’t kjnow who this is, but I liked the advice)

Principle #1: Avoid dangerous people and dangerous places.

Principle #2: Do not defend your property.

Principle #3: Respond immediately and escape.


Good financial advice:

Spend on the things you do every day.

Buy for what you do, not for what you wish you did.


Forget Salt

A new JAMA study finds a strong correlation: the third of folks who eat the least salt die over three times as often as the third of folks who eat the most salt.

‘Tis the season … for shopping?

December 6th, 2011

“Christmas Day should be the beginning rather than the end of the festive celebrations. But commercial logic points in a different direction.”

And no wonder.  Tim Harford sums up the reason in ‘Tis not the season to be shopping

 …the economist Emek Basker has found that in the US, where the Christmas shopping season varies between 26 and 32 days depending on the date of Thanksgiving, longer seasons mean more overall spending (about $8 per person per extra day).

Did  you spend your $8 today?

It just happens

November 9th, 2011

US wealth gap between young and old is widest ever – Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

Sad.  But what I find most interesting is that there is not a hint that personal choices might have something to do with a lack of accumulated wealth.

Full article below the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why print books still have a place

November 6th, 2011

 Interesting thought in this short post:

John’s Corner of the World: Darren and the encyclopedia: Why print books still have a place
While at my permaculture course, Darren Doherty, our instructor, told a little bit of his own story now and then. At one point, he mentioned that he had learned to read when he was about three years old. And when he was five or six years old, he received a World Book Encyclopedia for his birthday.

“I read the entire set four times through.”

–Now, before I say anything else, I should note that he is the second person I have met who has confessed to reading an entire encyclopedia.

But four times through? And why? What would motivate a child to read an entire encyclopedia?

Well, besides the basic thirst for knowledge–which both of the people I have met who have done this have obviously exhibited, Darren replied, “Because it was mine. They were my books.”

The encyclopedia was a unique gift and it was his.

Thought: I can’t imagine an electronic encyclopedia–an e-book encyclopedia–generating anywhere near the same feelings or motivations in any child.

And that thought led to this: That print books still have a real place in today’s and tomorrow’s society.

Does this resonate with anyone else?  Maybe I’m just old, but a physical book is something special, a tangible reminder of the story or a reminder of the past.  e-books seem just so ephemeral.

Understanding Poverty in the United States

November 6th, 2011

 I just read today’s Sunday paper, and it sparked more discussion than usual in my family. The myths, exaggerations, misconceptions, and misuse of statistics is infuriating and serves nobody well (except perhaps “the media” itself, though only in the short term).

I ran across this illustrative post last week.  What does it really mean to be poor in America?

Understanding Poverty in the United States: Poverty USA
Today, the Census Bureau released its annual poverty report, which declared that a record 46.2 million persons, or roughly one in seven Americans, were poor in 2010. The numbers were up sharply from the previous year’s total of 43.6 million. Although the current recession has increased the numbers of the poor, high levels of poverty predate the recession. In most years for the past two decades, the Census Bureau has declared that at least 35 million Americans lived in poverty.

However, understanding poverty in America requires looking behind these numbers at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. However, only a small number of the 46 million persons classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity.

So, “poverty” suggests near destitution (and certain groups are getting as much political and alarmist mileage as possible out of that suggestion), but what does it really mean?  Click through the article to see.

What really gets my goat is when “they” take a statistic (1 in 15 Americans) and illustrate it with an outlying example, then trumpet about as if the  entire named group is comprised of people just like the example.  The “I am the 99%” photos going around Facebook are a good example.  Most of them are NOT the 99% – they are the most unfortunate 0.05% of the 99%.  They are part of the 99%, but certainly are not the most accurate characterization of that group.

ALEXA MEADE – very cool

November 3rd, 2011

 Check out Alexa Meade’s portfolio.  This is the coolest original idea I’ve seen in a long time.

Here’s one of my favorites – click on through and take a close look at this.


Stupid, or lazy?

November 2nd, 2011

“Isn’t it amazing that we’d rather call ourselves stupid than lazy? At least laziness is easy to fix.”

Another really short post, but his posts tend to be short and I hate to cut&paste the whole thing.

Seth’s Blog: Stupid and lazy