Being Vegetarian

Thankfully, my personal experience is not like this one. That said, nearly every veggie forum I have visited has a large share of hostiles.

A Hybrid of CFOP and Lars Petrus

This article assumes you are familiar with the CFOP method of solving Rubik’s Cube, but not a cube master, and you are interested in exploring some ways to cube that you may not yet have considered.

I recently have been studying Lars Petrus’ method for solving Rubik’s Cube ( — I will refer to this as LP in this article). Actually, I have been looking at LP off and on for years, wondering when I would understand it. That day has finally arrived.
Read more of this post

Toyota Knows About Tacoma Frame Rust, Keeps Quiet

This is part of my campaign to shame Toyota. Until a week ago, I respected Toyota, but they did me wrong, and I want to tell my story. If one person reads this and has a better outcome than me, fantastic. If a lot of people read this and Toyota gets slapped, then my mission will be accomplished.

TL/DR: I know a lot of you have Toyotas, and I hope you are happy with them. Please get your vehicle’s frame checked regularly. Some models have a severe problem with frame rust, making them profoundly unsafe. Unlike other vehicle safety issues you may have heard about, there is *no recall* for this, and as I found out, there is no remedy for the owner either. Read more of this post

Set Intersection

I caught up with an old discussion on Chandoo’s site. The basic question was, “How can I find the number of numbers that intersect in ranges Start1..End1 and Start2..End2?” I had a similar challenge a few months ago in Excel and resorted to Excel’s Intersect method, resulting in this one-liner:

Function IntersectCount(S1 As Long, E1 As Long, S2 As Long, E2 As Long) As Long
' works on whole numbers only,
' parms must be in range [1..max rows allowed by your version of excel]
  IntersectCount = Application.Intersect(Range("A" & E1 & ":A" & S1), Range("A" & E2 & ":A" & S2)).Count
End Function

This works great for non-negative integer ranges with upper bounds < 2^20 (Excel 2007 and later) (great for everyday integers and dates!) I think Rick Rothstein posted a related method, but it did not produce a count.

The World is Made of Zettabytes

Science News published an interesting article describing how the volume of data we generate, store, and consume has dramatically increased over time. The numbers are genuinely interesting to me. How anyone measured (or estimated, more likely) this stuff is a bit of a stretch for me.

All that said, I don’t think there are really any surprises here. One thing the article does not mention is that while data volume is up, that doesn’t necessarily translate as information volume is up also. The article does speak to our limited ability to consume data–there’s only so much we can read, watch, process in our own minds. But what I’m suggesting is increases in data volume to some extent manifest as a higher data/information ratio; higher data density.

As an example, compare a typical HD movie of today vs. the earliest DVD video. In nominal terms, the HD movie has many more bits of data due to the larger frame size and higher frame rate. In terms of information though, it is still just a movie. It might look crisper–and arguably perhaps this equates to a marginal increase in “information”–but it can’t really deliver any more salient content than before.

The other point I wanted to make concerns one of the comments:

By now at least 1/3 of all computing is done by game consoles and cellphones, and that number will probably hit 50% within a year or two. To me it’s a bit disconcerting that half of our computing power is wasted on the pursuit of trivial nonsense.

My response is, assuming the commenter is correct, I don’t know why it should be disconcerting. If the gaming/cell phone industries have found ways to leverage technology to become this prominent, they didn’t do it at the expense of “nontrivial” pursuits. In fact, they probably helped to advance the technology we all benefit from.

Picking on IT

I started composing a similar message to my manager  today. I neither like nor dislike IT. In this case however, IT’s lack of initiative made me realize I am resentful of IT’s lack of initiative, considering the alternative is so cheap. It all started when IT Guy sent this around the Department (paraphrased and only slightly altered from a neutral disposition):

<Infrastructure Guy>: Do you think you could delete some stuff? The network is really full up.

This is the umpteenth time my department has been asked the same question. I have nothing against Infrastructure Guy, but with cheap (i.e., free) technology (go ahead, ask me) and 5 extra minutes I would have asked this instead:

<Me>: You have 30 GB of text files in one folder tree that could probably compact to less than 5 GB, saving over 25 GB of disk space. That would reduce your department’s usage by 10%. Do you need these files online or can we zip them?

So let’s compare: In IT guy’s scenario, the staff disperses. If they are engaged at at all, they will hunt & gather files to reduce or delete. They have no information about the size, location, or ownership of files. They probably have no idea how to make an impact here. In my world, a couple people check a few files and (hopefully) find a few quick hits to reduce disk consumption.

This is a real world scenario. Just Sayin’.

ps. Get your free disk usage widget here or here. The former is cool, the latter is too.

Good foo Gone bar

Until today, ImgBurn was my go-to app when I needed to read (rip) or write an optical disc. ImgBurn had a great reputation for being free and exceeding expectations. ImgBurn was like, oh, WinAmp before AOL; it was like your all-time favorite band before they sold out.

I looks like the ImgBurn crew sold out. Oh well.

ps. I realize this is not an appropriate use of the foobar construction. I probably should have titled this “Good foo gone bad” or perhaps “Good foo gone fubar”.