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Comment What a silly misuse of statistics (Score 1) 155

When you start with a small denominator, small changes in the numerator show as large proportions or high growth rates. This is why politicians like to point to trough-to-peak numbers when talking about their own records and peak-to-trough when talking about their political opponents. It's why some little rinky-dink county in New Mexico has the highest recorded per-capita death rate from traffic accidents—there was one fatal car crash there at a time when the county population was half a dozen people. It's why a high-school science project reported a 66.7% mortality rate when supplements were added to frog's diets—only one of the frogs lived.

Comment Re:Lotus Improv (Score 1) 156

I remember it, and loved it! A friend who invested heavily in Improv-related technology told me he found out (after losing his shirt) that Lotus had shut Improv down because it was eating into 1-2-3's market share, and they considered the latter their bread and butter product. So they ditched Improv, stuck with 1-2-3, and got their clocks cleaned by Microsoft.

Comment Re:nice work (Score 5, Insightful) 468

Reminds me of a conversation I had with a student about a dozen years ago. GPS was all shiny and new in the civilian world, and he was an ex Army Ranger. I thought he'd be really gung-ho about GPS, but he said he preferred a paper map. When I asked him his reasons, he said "A GPS unit with a bullet hole through it is a door stop. A map with a bullet hole through it is still a map."

Ever since then I've operated in the belief that robust technologies trump cool technologies.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.