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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:Firefly (Score 1) 300

As a wise fictional character once said, "May have [picked] the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one." Not sure that applies to the Zune, though, although it was brown...

The problem with the Zune wasn't solely that it was brown. It was brown and it squirted!

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.

Comment Re:R... (Score 1) 143

Python libraries are simultaneously advantageous and disadvantageous. Yes, they give a lot of leverage to solving a broad variety of problems, but last I checked many of them remained available only in Python 2. The success of the Python library ecosystem has actually interfered with the adoption of Python 3.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold