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Calculating the Net Present Value for the Tesla solar roof…

…in which your blogger finds he has to take several deep breaths at the sheer vacuity and cluelessness of an anti-Tesla-solar-roof guy who tries to use a Net Present Value calculation to show that said solar roofing is not worth it. In essence, he’s saying, “I think it’s crap, ergo I’ll fudge something I don’t understand to show I’m right.” <another deep breath> Let’s see what the issue is. There’s an article on Inverse (not a site I’ve come across before) that discusses how much one of Tesla...

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Scenes from my programming past: Puzzles V

In which I continue solving a series of puzzles first posed as part of the programming course for my Mathematics degree. This time it’s the last puzzle of all, the fifth. (The others: one , two , three , four , or click on the Puzzles category beneath this post.) “Can we try on our new hats?” the dwarves begged Snow White one day. “All right,” she said, “but first shut your eyes.” When they had done so, she popped a red or a green hat on each. When they opened their eyes each could see the other...

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Scenes from my programming past: Puzzles IV

In which I take a look at the fourth puzzle in the set of five that I had to solve in FORTRAN in my early programming days. The others are here: one , two , three . Without further ado: My friend Gogol is a whale for cryptarithmetic. He has two children called, of course, Fleur and Angio. Why ‘of course’ you may ask? Well, Fleur was born on FL/E/UR and Angio on AN/G/IO. Gogol himself was born on GO/G/OL, seeing that FLEUR + ANGIO = GOGOL. Each different letter stands for a different digit. Thus Angio...

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Scenes from my programming past: Puzzles III

Continuing through this set of five puzzles from 40 years ago ( one , two ) that I had to solve using FORTRAN on punched cards on King’s College’s timeshare. The third puzzle is perhaps the most tedious of all so far. Let’s see what it says: One Christmas treat we, alas, never miss is Aunt Millicent’s smell game. She puts five of what she terms ‘substances’ in muslin bags and bids us take a good sniff in turn. Her sense of humour is very much her own as you will see from this record of guesses from...

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Scenes from my programming past: Puzzles II

Continuing through this set of five puzzles from 40 years ago , presumably designed to be solved with FORTRAN, the language I used back then. Here’s the second puzzle, one that seems like a logical one: Five anglers were propping up the bar of The Compleat Idiot the other night, arguing about the day’s catch. As all were lying themselves blue, no information whatever emerged until the landlord finally intervened. “Look,” he said, “each of you has caught just one fish. The five fish together weigh...

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Scenes from my programming past: Puzzles I

In cleaning out our basement ready for our move, I came across the folders of my notes I’d laboriously written during the lectures for my Mathematics degree. There in the middle of Year 2’s notes were some notes on programming, and in there were a set of five puzzles. Presumably we were given these to see whether we could write a program to solve them. In FORTRAN, natch, because that’s all we had at the time. So let’s see how we do. Here’s the first puzzle. If OODDF is the square root of WONDERFUL...

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The Mortgage Protection sleaze

Back in August 2015, I wrote a blog post about the sleazy auto-warranty companies mailing me trying to get me to sign up after I’d bought out the lease on my wife’s car. It’s turned into one of the more popular posts on this site, so, without further ado: it’s time for another sleaze! A couple of weeks ago, I closed on a new house for us: bigger plot and house, with a garage for a third car (hello, 64SAINT !), and air conditioning. We’re certainly happy about it and are going to be moving in a couple...

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Five dozen

Numerology, like a whole bunch of New Age-y things, is a complete load of old bollocks. If you want to see some “meaning” in a bunch of numbers, those associations will be there to spot. Sometimes you can be convinced enough to put them on a lottery ticket and watch your money disappear. For me in my life – weirdly, perhaps coincidentally – it’s the number 12. But then again, 12 is this nice number that’s divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. You could also make some argument that it forms “nice” fractions...

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Sheer panic

You might know the feeling. You’ve got a flight, 2+ hours. You’ve prepared and uploaded a bunch of ripped DVDs to your tablet, at least one or two of which you’ll watch during the flight. You pop your headphones on as the doors are closed and you start the first video. “Cannot play video. Please try again later.” Yes, this was me on Monday morning, my heart sinking into my boots. All I had, literally, for this flight to entertain myself were these videos. And they wouldn’t play. Maybe I’d overloaded...

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Why I won’t use WordPress, in one image

From a site I’m the webmaster for, a list of requests that caused a 404 not found error: PHP attack! In essence, this was an automated attack, as it happened all within a couple of minutes (the list goes on for a second and third page). Some script kiddie running a script that was trying to get some response from the assumed PHP that’s running the site. Requesting a whole bunch of PHP files, one after the other. In fact it’s probably four kiddies (unless it’s the same kiddie trying four times, because...

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