Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

“When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country.”   Sam Harris, “When Atheists Attack”

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The Pendulum Swings/It's All Clinton's Fault

'motion' by seeks2dream on flickr

With all the blaming of Pelosi/McCain/Obama for the failure of the bailout bill, it is kind of odd that someone hasn’t brought up every Republican’s favorite whipping boy, Bill Clinton; after all, his HUD was part of starting the whole mess, as reported nine years ago today:

New York Times, September 30, 1999:  ‘Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending’

Of course it was all well intentioned – a backlash against allegations of racial discrimination by Fannie and Freddie.  The result?

“The action […] will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans.

“Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

“In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

“In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.”

You can’t cry about a deregulated market not working when the government has its hands all over the cookie jar, tweaking here, muddling there.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

CNN: Campbell Brown on the 700 Billion Bailout

Gratuitous video embed:

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The one-hundred-pushups challenge: FAIL

I’ve given in to the larger forces and have quit my challenge.  I lasted four weeks, and made some progress – I could never do 70 pushups in one go before.

But that’s it – I’ve thrown in the towel. 

A Myron Cope special edition of the Terrible T...

FAIL   :-(

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MOSS: Goodbye 2000 limit, Hello 3000?

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

The rule of thumb for SharePoint lists has always been “no more than 2000 items in a given container”.

Now in the recently released White Paper “SharePoint Performance Optimization - How Microsoft IT Increases Availability and Decreases Rendering Time of SharePoint Sites”, the following is stated in the Best Practices section:

Manage large lists for performance  
Having large lists by itself is not necessarily a performance issue. When SharePoint Server renders the many items in those lists, that can cause spikes in render times and database blocking. One way to mitigate large lists is to use subfolders and create a hierarchical structure where each folder or subfolder has no more than 3,000 items.”

The 2000 items was always a soft limit, of course, but interesting to see MS now saying 3000…

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UI Rant: Latest Windows Messenger Beta

I’m far from a UI Guru, but I know bad design when I see it, to paraphrase Justice Stewart.  This is bad UI design:

Live Messenger Interface

An examination of some of its faults:


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Monday, September 15, 2008

The one-hundred-pushup challenge: week four

The program is getting harder, and sleep deprivation is making the program harder to follow - week 5 is slipping.  Also I'm starting to experience that this is more about delaying lactic acid buildup than about strength.  I hate lactic acid.

More to come.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Economics: Trade (and Trade Deficits) <> Wealth Transfer

The otherwise excellent Pickens Plan contains one notable misstatement:

"At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone — that's four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.

"Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion — it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind."

Pickens Plan, The Plan (emphasis mine)

The local blogger FreeMarket has picked up on this in his Pay us like you owe us piece - this is simply commodity trade, not wealth transfer.  It might best be argued that a) trading dollars for oil unduly affects our balance of trade, and b) we might find better things to trade our dollars for...

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IE: This is comforting...


Uhm.... I'm closing the window cause it's just churning my resources and is already causing problems... 

How long before MS re-architects IE to work like Chrome, with a process per tab?

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CodeSmith: Yay, my code is still there...

CodeSmith's templates are now hosted on Google Code, and though the search doesn't find me (huh?  Google not being able to search a text file?), I found my old code myself...

Since almost all my work since day 1 has been hidden behind corporate firewalls, it's nice to see some segments in the wild.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Silliness/Project Management: Hug a Developer Today

Found the following on Scott Watermasysk's feed: too poignant not to pass on.

And as proof that humor + viral video + free works, I signed up for's free 3 person trial account.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Javascript Performance Comparison: IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome

The Danish Google folks have a benchmark suite of JavaScripts that they used for tuning Google Chrome's V8 engine.

I ran their tests in Chrome, Firefox 3.0.1 and Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.17184.

Results* are below, higher number is better:

Browser Richards DeltaBlue Crypto RayTrace EarleyBoyer Overall





















It'll be interesting to see what Firefox 3.1 and TraceMonkey brings to the table, but IE is seriously left in the dust here...  And I doubt Google would be foolish enough to stack these tests in Chrome's favor.

* Each time you run these tests, the score will fluctuate, based on what else is going on on your system.  These are the results of single tests, re-running the test gave different values, but the overall trend is the same.

** After the second Test I got the "Stop running this script?" warning - I clicked No as soon as I could, but not sure if that affected the score on the subsequent tests...



Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The one hundred pushup challenge: Week 3

Some progress this week, this may be working:

Day 2 was rough. Day 3 was one day delayed, perhaps that's why I was able to increase the max. One thing's for certain, a couple of warm-up rounds will be required before the final test. Only three weeks away...

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Pre-stolen Idea: The Google Chrome Omnibox

Are you feeling lucky?

Image by dullhunk via Flickr

Just the other day I was saying to one of my office mates that Google Toolbar ought to replace the URL address bar with a suggestion-style drop down list that would suggest URLs for you, similar to how the Windows Explorer intellisense works.

That is, if I started typing goo - it should suggest to complete that with, or, etc, etc.  The Firefox address bar does this now, but only for URLs that are in your history.  With all the PageRank data available at their fingertips, Google should be able to suggest the URL of a page that is NOT in your history.

And now, apparently, in Google Chrome, they will:

Google Chrome - the comic book, page 19

Time to brush the dust off the ol' JavaScript books - or buy some new ones.  JavaScript is not going away any time soon.

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