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Comment: Re:Not so bad to have different systems. (Score 1) 2288

by Acius (#35901274) Attached to: Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

A base 10 timing metric is a dreadful idea. Dividing things into units of 60 is genuinely brilliant, and there's a reason it's still around after several thousand years. You can divide groups of sixty into halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, and tenths without ever cracking an integer. Base-10 numbers can only be divided into halves, fifths, tenths ... you can't do thirds and quarters consistently. And yes, this was a conscientious choice. The Babylonians didn't have fraction theory fully worked out, so deliberately picked numbers that were easy to think about and use.

I doubt base-60 would, itself, be a good idea, because we'd need to come up with 60 digits. But using base 10, then using units of 60 from there on up? It's very well thought out, and behaves quite a bit better than units of 100. The metric system would arguably be much improved if it also did things this way -- tried to write down "a third of a meter" lately? I hope you like your receding decimal points.

Comment: Re:Econ 101 (Score 1, Redundant) 277

by Acius (#33612936) Attached to: BSA's Latest Piracy Claims 'Shockingly Misleading,' Says Geist

... wow. You, sir, are wrong on the Internet.

I would guess you're lying about ever having taken Econ 101. I'm either an idiot or an expert, having taken it three times, but I do remember quite clearly about day four of the first time round, when the Economics teacher, arms flailing wildly, yelled as loudly as he could "ECONOMICS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME!" He then went on to explain that anyone who said so is an idiot who doesn't understand economics. The textbook went on in more or less the same fashion.

Your post has approximately as many mistakes as it has sentences. Let's begin, shall we?

"There is a finite amount of money."

No, money has value only because we imagine it does, and has no intrinsic worth except as a means of trading value. The amount of value in an economy contracts and expands, and is roughly the sum of everything useful that everyone does plus the value of everything everyone owns. If you work harder, the economy gets bigger. If you slack off, the economy contracts by just so much. If you create something new and useful, you have created wealth. If you destroy or quit doing something useful, you have destroyed wealth.

"Thus, if $1000 more is spent on software, $1000 less is spent elsewhere. Roughly speaking, 6000 new software jobs equals 6000 fewer other jobs."

No. Value is measured by how much work people are doing and what they are creating. If the money supply stays constant but the amount of work being done increases, then money *becomes worth more*, because there are more things for it to buy, but the same amount of money to buy them with. This causes downward pressure on prices, and is called deflation. To counter deflation, the government prints new money. Actually, the government generally prints a little too much money, creating inflation, a phenomenon they have nigh-complete control over. Governments like inflation because it lowers their effective interest rate, making it easier to pay it back later.

"This is approximately a zero sum game."

No. It is not even approximately a zero sum game. Adequate optimization of economic systems is a major reason that the United States has done such a good job of getting absurdly wealthy, despite having a smaller population base and comparable natural resources to other major powers. This is a game of multipliers and exponential growth effects; there is very little addition involved, and the sum is certainly not zero.

"There are benefits to reducing piracy, but their argument doesn't hold water."

Oh, I apologize. One of your sentences is correct, so actually you're at 25%. Dreadfully sorry about that.

Comment: Re:Tip for those wanting fee refunds (Score 1) 216

by Acius (#31786242) Attached to: <em>Warhammer Online</em> Users Repeatedly Overbilled

I'm guessing you are not a lawyer, and therefore I can argue with you (not that it would stop me anyway, I suppose).

Quoting from a random bank code of ethics found online:

No gifts, regardless of value, are to be encouraged or solicited by employees in connection with the
Bank’s business or responsibilities. However, employees, as expressions of courtesy and appreciation
may accept gifts in kind such as fruits, flowers or candy so long as their monetary value is minimal and
does not represent a “substantial gift.”

I'm not a lawyer either. But he did say less than $20.00. Even legislators can usually accept in-kind gifts with a value less than $20.00. So, in fact, the rules of at least one bank specifically allow for this kind of thing, and I doubt that the bank's code of ethics is in violation of federal rules.

Regarding your own experience of receiving a gift *from your own father*, that sounds like a control-freak manager being more of a jerk than is strictly necessary. Most banks have a totally separate set of ethical rules governing dealing with employee family members anyway.

Bug

Warhammer Online Users Repeatedly Overbilled 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the greenbacks-for-greenskins dept.
TheSpoom writes "A screw-up in EA's Warhammer Online billing system has resulted in many players being charged upwards of 22 times for a one-month subscription, filling bank accounts with overdraft fees and the Warhammer forums with very angry players, who are discussing the issue quite vocally. EA has said that refunds are in progress and that '[they] anticipate that once the charges have been reversed, any fees that have been incurred should be refunded as well.' They haven't specifically promised to refund overdraft charges, only to ask customers' banks to refund them once the actual charges are refunded. They seem to be assuming banks will have no problem with this."

Comment: Re:prevent discrimination? (Score 1) 544

by Acius (#31488320) Attached to: Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody's DNA

Lovely, let's agree violently.

The question you answered: "why is it fair to collect if from everyone who is arrested?"

Your answer: "For the same reasons that it is only fair to put people that have been convicted in prison, but not people who haven't been." Because this sentence answers the question, you are implicitly claiming that collecting DNA from arrested persons is fair by providing a justification for it. However, the justification does not make sense, unless you believe that being arrested equates to being convicted. And you don't believe that, as you stated in the very next sentence.

Anyway, I agree with what you apparently believe, you just made a mistake in expressing that clearly.

Comment: Re:prevent discrimination? (Score 1) 544

by Acius (#31486896) Attached to: Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody's DNA

Uh, so you agree that it isn't fair?

"Innocent until proven guilty [in a court of law]" means that arrested people are, by definition, innocent. At least for the time being. Therefore, if you are against taking DNA from innocent people, then you must either be against taking DNA from arrested people, or you disagree with "innocent until proven guilty." It seems we're developing a societal taste for "innocent until accused." It's more efficient, and you don't waste so much time being nice to the people who are actually guilty.

Comment: There is recent research on this (Score 1) 266

by Acius (#29584017) Attached to: Archiving Digital Artwork For Museum Purchase?

Take a look at http://www.millenniata.com/ -- their tagline is "Write once, read forever." It's a group out of BYU, which is tied to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the largest collection of genealogical records in the world. They've been storing everything on microfiche in a massive vault, and would really like to switch to digital media but for the archival problems you mention. Millenniata grew out of research into making stable DVDs--they guess that their DVDs are stable enough to last 1000+ years (the way I've heard it, they don't know of any particular process that would cause them to decay, but you never know).

Comment: New Hires (Score 1) 569

by Acius (#27281603) Attached to: Programming Language Specialization Dilemma

I've done a little bit of hiring at my small company (we have five programmers; I was an interviewer for two of them). You do need to be highly competent in our language of choice (C++), but I expect to spend a lot of time training a fresh-out-of-college hire.

If there are C++ fundamentals (virtual functions, pass-by-reference, use of the STL and standard libraries, polymorphism) with which you are not familiar, then you have language learning to do. But given that you have the fundamentals, the biggest question is whether you can work on a team.

Do you know how to say "I don't know" when you don't? Do you document your work clearly and effectively so that other programmers will find it usable? Are you passionately interested in naming constructions in a way that clarifies their purpose? Do you think about corner cases when you code, so that your methods can be used without fear or knowledge of their internals? Are you the kind of person who's going to get into holy wars about programming style, making the codebase into a mishmash of competing formatting styles? Or even worse, do you not care about programming style at all? Do you know how to read someone else's code and then follow their way of doing things, rather than just rolling your own every time?

The question I am asking with every new hire is "will hiring this person make my life easier?" That covers a lot more than programming knowledge.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 139

by Acius (#27265163) Attached to: CP80's Cheryl Preston Suggests "CyberSecurity" Group At ICANN

I attended BYU, lived in that same off-campus housing, and have lived in the Provo area for over 20 years. You are exaggerating badly.

- There are no laws to "force everyone to follow LDS guidlines [sic] and join their church." Even if such a law were possible in America (I hope not!), such a law would be highly repugnant to Mormons, as there is an express prohibition against laws like that in the church's core creed (cf. eleventh article of faith).

As for laws forcing everyone to follow LDS guidelines: Cigarettes and alcohol are legal in Utah. There are no mandatory Internet filters in Utah, although they are a popular add-on for local ISPs. We have shops that legally sell sex toys and pornographic movies, and billboards on the freeways advertising their existence. What laws are you referring to? Most Mormons do strongly disapprove of these things, but that isn't the same thing as illegal.

- The "menace to society" quote is a very sarcastic sort of joke. I've heard it said a great many times, mostly by single people who wish they weren't. The original quote gets attributed to Brigham Young, although I can't find any documentation that he ever said it. It is certainly much older than "the nineties," and the age (18? 22? 25? 30?) has been revised a few times.

There is a big problem with self-loathing singles here, but that doesn't equate to social ostracism.

3. I haven't followed the vagaries of BYU housing contracts, so maybe you got this right, I don't know. But there are a very great many apartments available to non-students in Provo. As a non-student who has rented in Provo, I found being overwhelmed by which to pick to be a greater problem. I imagine that if you insist on finding non-student housing across the road from BYU that you may have some difficulties.

4. I also hate the parking laws -- I've had to fool around with the idiotic visitor permits any time I was visiting someone in that part of town. On the other hand, it sounds like you did not have enough parking spaces on the property for the number of people living there (which is a violation of the old ordinance). There were regularly so many cars parked on the streets that it became impossible for visitors to find parking in that area. The reason everyone got inflicted with the stupid street parking laws is that the law about having enough parking spaces proved unenforceable. So I blame your landlord for the bad laws.

Claiming that these laws are only enforced against single people is silly. Cars are not marked with the marital status of their owner, unless "being a minivan" counts. The laws are enforced against the people who clog up the streets, marital status notwithstanding.

5. I have rented individual housing. I was not a student at the time. I am single. My money was sufficiently green. Who is this "they" of whom you speak?

Comment: Re:Maybe its your interviewing skills (Score 1) 613

by Acius (#25212099) Attached to: The Stigma of a Tech Support Background

That's funny ... I agree with everything you said except "Don't listen to this guy!" What about my earlier comment are you objecting to, exactly? You didn't contradict any of my points, just added a few new ones. Or do you think smelling bad doesn't count as really, really offensive?

And in an attempt to actually add to the discussion -- it doesn't bother me when interviewees are nervous. Nervousness fades in a few weeks, and at least for me it doesn't really hurt your chances. Salesmen are supposed to be confident in interviews, but I don't see why developers should be. What I'm looking for is that magical combination of "this person is competent" and "I can trust this person to do a good job." I also appreciate someone who can tell me honestly that they don't know the answer to something. Anyone new to my (very small) field is going to have gaps in their knowledge, so I need to be sure that when they're unsure, I'm going to hear about it.

Prepared answers only really bother me if they have *nothing to do with the question*.

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