Monday, December 29, 2008

Why banks charge inactivity fees?

9 Month Inactivity Fee with money in [Bank Name]: Accounts with no activity cost banks money to maintain. After 9 consecutive months of no activity, a $19.00 monthly fee will be assessed until the account reaches a zero balance. At this time the account will be closed. If the user wants to re-open an account, he or she can do so. This fee will never overdraw the account.

Forgive me for not being a banker, but I don't understand why an account with no activity would cost a bank any more money to maintain than active accounts. Also, don't banks have some type of dividends, or interest earnings? That should qualify as activity, plus the bank is able to play with the money you leave in there, investing, lending, otherwise using that money to make money.

As for the cost associated with maintaining an inactive account. The bank already has the computer infrastructure in place, your dormant account is one or more records of possibly millions in a database table. By not logging in, or producing activity, you're likely saving them money. Each time you log in, its processed and stored, plus bandwidth and server usage for looking at your account, small peanuts sure, but a record that is never accessed, charging an inactivity fee sounds like a revenue source as opposed to quid pro quo.

Which reminds me, wheres the ethics in installing red-light-cameras in areas where it will maximize city revenue, as opposed to increase safety?

List of banks: chase, fifth third, first merit, national city, wells fargo, us bank, keybank, key bank,washington mutual,citibank,wachovia,countrywide,huntington,sky bank,new century,gmac,college board,greenpoint,bank one,firstar,nellie mae,comerica,suntrust, ing direct,capital one,american express,shore bank,skybank,teri,discover,huntington national,standard federal,harris bank,flagstar,hsbc,nelliemae, mbna america,wamu,banking,providian,financial strategies, pnc

Monday, November 24, 2008

faults with measuring

Preface: TV's : The Biggest Loser
A tv show that encourages contestants to not be in the bottom rung of people losing the minimum percentage of weight, weekly.

Fault: unit of measurement != results
Televising that someone goes from 170lbs to 163lbs (delta -4.11%) one week then from 163lbs to 159lbs (delta -2.45%) doesn't mean that that person has slowed their fat loss (a goal of becoming healthy), just their weekly weight loss has slowed (the weekly goal of the television show contest).

Measure each person's %body_fat at each time interval, and compare that %body_fat each time. And compare that delta %body_fat each week. Reason why this is better, from experience, I can't lose or gain weight (beyond a 10 pound fluctuation). But I can gain or lose body fat percentage.

My story:
I weigh ~(195-205)lbs.
I work out, I convert fat into leg, core, and arm strength.
I slouch and become an enslaved cubicle person who goes out to lunch daily; muscle deteriorates and becomes fat.

Lastly, muscle weighs more than fat, and having a balanced amount of muscle over fat is our healthy bound.

Now, to compare this with Google's Official Google Blog: Sorting 1PB with MapReduce

Holy Damn!!
Our cluster admin would have killed my job before it got anywhere close to tying up 1pb, or ran for 6 hours.

Preface: Google has shown that 1PB of data can be sorted in ~6 hours
Fault: human time is not the same as cycle time.
Solution: Show that their algorithm for building a 1PB dataset and sorting it takes less cycles than any other mechanism.

If one wants to, you can ask for a more mathematical rigor to this public demonstration.

As a student, this rigor has killed my love for computers as being just fun, to building this the science of computing is quite an amazing feat, as evidenced by computing as an industry has grown some 100B% in the past 50 years.

My questions are: what is the time to
insert something into this 1PB dataset,
remove something,
retrieve the first element,
sort it

In terms of I guess cycle time, and Θ or O of an input n.
To be congruent with all other sorting mechanisms, I can't accept that this feat is better than Θ( log2(n) )

And I would like to see what the cycle time is to create a data set of 1PB, and the cycle time to sort 1PB.

The ability to process 1PB in a "timely" fashion pushes the capabilities of computing even further as we are finally able to approach extremely large datasets and for that not to be just too large to use, thus putting awesome tools in the hands of programmers who performs tasks for others.

But cycle time is cycle time, and this is just saying that we have so many fast computers connected to each other that we have to power to do what we need. MapReduce(1PB) < Θ(awesome)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fallout 3, for the console and pc

Fallout 3 is pretty nice; the familiar feel of oblivion, new innovations, modern-post-nuclear scenery and warfare, and runs very well on console (xbox in my case).

However, being a cool kid as I am, we also bought it for pc. Why not support Bethesda Softworks for creating an awesome product, not once, but twice.

Yeah, they've got no love for us poor kids. They must have voted McCain, because they raised the minimum specs above what I've got, above what anyone else in the house has, and perhaps to the level that only 5% of computers can perform.

So, you buy an xbox for 2-3 hundred dollars, and you just game. You wanna go the pc route, well, for a gaming rig, you're looking at something a bit steeper, and every few years, you'll have to buy more hardware.

I think, I'll just use my computer for web and email from now on.

UPDATE: 11/24/2008
I just had to do it. I Immediately went out and stimulated the economy by buying ~$400 of computer parts (new mobo, processor, ram, video card) so I could play fallout. I runs terrific, and the fact that it detected my setting as Ultra High, made so internally proud of my new, on a budget, purchase.

My advice to myself and anyone who accepts that advice of others is this:
What do you care about 3 years ago if you spent 300 to 400 dollars on some big purchase. By now you've absorbed that cost through pinching and saving here and there. That if you've made it here, chances are you could have faced even harsher circumstances and still come out on top.
The caveat is that you don't make it out on top as a result. I.e. potentially blowing your rent money on a computer, and then suffer a seriously high interest rate a debt, accruing daily.

chrome's interpretation of notHTTPS

Chrome's pretty sweet. So this will not be an unbiased report or critical assessment of Google's browser.

This page signed its own https certificate, which I believe is not a genuine method of going about https. But I'm glad the department spared the 3 copies of vista it could have cost us otherwise.

So strike-out https, pretty sweet.

Chrome has other tricks I'm crazy about, especially ripping tabs out at any time, and them making their own window. Use case in which I ran in to this today. I was editing a page and it had syntax/aesthetic errors, so I ripped out the rendered page, had the editor open in another, used the "stack windows side-by-side" and worked right through it.

Having the single search bar/address bar, that gives suggested hits from google search suggest, google services (docs, calendar, picasaweb, ...), and browsed history make looking for things especially quicker.

However, there are several caveats, and gotchas to using chrome, the main one is that, you'll still need either IE or firefox as well. The reason is that pages continue to be made that support only a few browsers, and by being new, no web developers are developing pages FOR chrome. The best case would be following web standards, and we're all happy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Firefox 3's big foob

Software's goal is to advance, upgrade, add features, improve upon the existing, and basically just... get better.

{deep breath}

Firefox 3, doesn't so much work for me.

Firebug breaks a lot more than it used it, and by breaks, I mean DOM Inspector doesn't come shipped with Firefox de jure, but it doesn't really get installed with Firefox 3 de facto. And to me, one whom considers themselves "advanced", but feel trustworthy enough of a software to just let the default work fine enough. (I'm thinking of the "trustworthiness" of Firefox when they declared Apple untrustworthy for including Safari with its apple update.

Basically, if Firefox 3 would default install DOM Inspector, I would be happy. Web Developer toolbar should give me better advice since I don't have DOM Inspector installed, and Firebug should show the blue line around an object when I inspect it.

Thats it, that'll win my vote.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

why is the keyboard shortcut for the search box different between firefox and internet explorer?

To answer the question "why is the keyboard shortcut for the search box different between firefox and internet explorer?", I would say is innovation.

By the way, to get to the search box in...
Firefox: Control + K
Internet Explorer (7): Control + E

Why they made them different beats me. Why shortcuts differ between mac, windows, and linux versions of the same product also beats me. This is no added feature, but I'm glad it bothered me enough to look it up, now if I forget, well then hopefully something more interesting is refusing to give up its brain space. guys quotes..

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron is out (officially)

Get started with Ubuntu. I would recommend you use the Torrent, as it should be inversely slammed as compared to the server.

ubuntu-8.04-desktop-i386.iso 23-Apr-2008 02:03 699M Desktop CD for PC (Intel x86) computers (standard download)

ubuntu-8.04-desktop-i386.iso.torrent 24-Apr-2008 08:23 28K Desktop CD for PC (Intel x86) computers (BitTorrent download)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

fika: powering late nights

I'm not sure I subscribe to this idea of mornings beginning with abrupt alarms, rushing to whatever destination you need to get to, eating quickly or not at all, and too much sunlight being forced through our eyes?

I much prefer the concept of no beginning. In which things will just always be there, waiting for you to do them, however not in the order of this must be done while you would much prefer to be sleeping. The solution is simple, wake up, do your thing, return home tired and take a nap, then fika. Fika to the rescue. No more tired eyes, no more struggling to begin doing what it is you need to be doing.

Oops, homework due Wednesday morning, well there's always Tuesday night. Thank you 24/7 libraries, and thank you coffee grinder.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

excitement comes from...

excitement comes
from knowing basics
and then
very quickly
building complexity

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

I've upgraded two of my machine to Hardy and it wasn't completely without trouble. First off, I would recommend to the Ubuntu upgrade process team that if they can foresee an issue with your old/working wireless firmware drivers not working in Heron due to them upgrading to a new future version, than do us a favor and download the updated version.

Under 7.10 I had bcm43xx-fwcutter_006-3_i386.deb and wl_apsta-

However 8.04 needs something like bcm43xx-fwcutter_011-3_i386.deb which means my upgraded machine is without wireless, atleast until I can do my further updates via LAN cable.

In other news, school is cool. All around challenging and intellectually stimulating. They like to drag you around for your first two years with yet-another-computer-class and some decent professors/grad_students, but once you get into the cool classes, ever class is cool (minus one), and all the professors are superstars (except one).

So the hope is that I shall become one with the code after this quarter, and be able to design my own computer architecture, do lots of software engineering projects, and make awesome happen out intense constraints... time, freedom...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Converting real stream to local file

aka converting real .ram .rm to .mp3 or .avi

I found a cool tool online that should be good enough to do the conversion. Real7ime Converter.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Yahoo Fees: A new service for domain owners

Uhh, even though Yahoo! formally declined the Microsoft offer, I have reason to believe Microsoft pirates have managed to invade the ranks of Yahoo! management, and do one of those classic Microsoft-in-the-90's maneuvers.

Yeah, I'm totally going to someone who doesn't skim an extra $3 for no reason. No offense, I tip my waitress, but this, its just a record in a c-table or something like that.

[[UPDATE]] After reading the fine-print of Yahoo!'s offer, they amazingly one-upped themselves. How clever, you can steer your herd by cleverly referring to competitors as junk.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Status of Google Translation of a language

Google is working on making translation available for many languages, so how your language fairs...

Google Translation Console

Google: New Service

Google New Service

Something completely new, unpublished, and by Google. However, its most likely just a template... :(

Also, what is this..

Google Apps for Ohio State?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How to kill interest in something: Charge for it

So now you have that great (invention | product | website | service | other) that has been offered for free, and people think very highly of it. What do you do next?

==The Solution==
Start charging for it.

WinTV has purchased the rights to broadcast English Premier League soccer. They basically converted a free broadcast on television into a paid-subscription channel.

==The business mind attitude to accomplish it==
Prime example of business at work is Song Zheng

"Let's say goodbye to free Premier League. No more free lunch in the future."

"Fans can enjoy the games in various convenient ways," he said. "There's only one premise -- pay."

Step up to the next level in becoming the devil by taking a free service and "killing" it by making people pay for it without adding any value to the service.

Unfortunately for those who have worked to promote the English Premier league, they have cut millions of Chinese fans off from becoming fans. ohh yeah, AND the competing leagues of europe are still broadcast for free in China.

So, if Gmail were to lock out all users from logging in until they pulled out their credit card, then I guess there is that hotmail thing, or email isn't really that important.

{is this somehow innovation?}

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Spectrum Day!!

Today is finally it!!

With the FCC spectrum auction today, I couldn't be happier. I hope that all those who mean well will be successful in their bidding today.

I suppose that could be an oxymoron, because whoever has the most money, and the most will to spend it will likely be the winner. In essence whoever has the greatest claim to making a return.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Google, a Delaware Corporation ?

After actually (almost) reading the terms of service word for word, Google is a Delaware corporation, which means their headquarters in Mountain View, is only a front. Mums the word, but Google has a secret lair hiding somewhere in Delaware.

Here's some other Google's living in Delaware.

  • 3582691 GOOGLE INC.
  • 3478111 GOOGLE LLC

Google Airwaves sounds like a mobile carrier (platform)
Google International should merge with Google Airwaves and yield Google International Airwaves which would be a new airline that redefines travel by transmitting people all over the world by "technology from an advanced alien culture".

This author has no real information on any of this, is is all just speculation that not even a quantum parallel universe could contain.

Batteries and their man-machine symbiosis

I'm in the market for buying a new laptop, and I found this on read the end for my profound thoughts...

About Laptop Batteries

Following are five tips to help you get the longest battery life possible

1. Keep Your Screen as Dim as Possible – LCD screens are one of the biggest battery drainers. Adjust your setting so you have enough brightness for comfortable computing. During an overnight flight, for example, you can dim your brightness yet still see clearly. Most notebooks have simple applications you can use to control LCD brightness; consult your user’s manual.
2. Use Power Wisely – Turn off unused devices; each of them drains power. Most notebooks have power-management options. When you’re not using your laptop, you should have it on sleep mode, or your notebook’s equivalent. This mode keeps enough power running to maintain minimal function, so you can resume full power with very little delay when you’re ready to return to your work or play.
3. Cut Down on HD Activity - You can cut down on how hard your hard drive must work by defragmenting it regularly. This can be done automatically at selected regular intervals once you’ve located the Disk Defagmenter in the Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools menu and follow the prompts.
4. Disable Startup Items – Every time you boot up (on Windows), startup items load into memory, causing other open programs to add to your CPU’s power load. You can easily disable startup options simply by clicking Start/Run, entering C:\MSCONFIG and following the prompts.
5. Keep Your Battery Fit! - Yes, you can actually condition your battery. When you buy your laptop, charge the battery to its full capacity, then discharge it completely. Next, fully charge it again. This way your battery actually learns how much electrical charge it can hold. Always make sure when you charge your battery that it reaches 100 percent.

I think the last note is a really interesting idea. Perhaps like us humans, we need to keep in the habit of working full productive days then getting a full nights sleep, otherwise our lives battery becomes debilitated.