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Verry broken Mustang Mach1

The Auto Warranty sleaze, part deux

A couple of years ago, I wrote what turned out to be one of the more popular posts on this blog: The Auto Warranty Sleaze . It was about those dodgy-looking letters and postcards you get once you, say, pay off your car lease or loan, exhorting you to get an extra warranty on your engine or transmission or whatever, because it could all go wrong at any moment . Normally, I just shred them and get on with my life, but every now and then there’s one that just makes me laugh. This latest one is one of...

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Caveat venditor, part 2

Recently Earnest published a report about rent costs , with the surprising fact (at least for me) that Colorado Springs (where I live) is fourth in the nation for percentage of total income spent on rent. The median rent overall? A smidge under $1400. Do you know what size mortgage you can get for that? Income Spent on Rent, By City Copyright (c) Earnest.com Consequently Colorado Springs is going through a bit of a property shortage at the moment, especially in the up-to-$300K range. Sure, there...

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Caveat venditor

I don’t know about you, but the news over the past year has trashed my usual relatively sunny state of mind. I find myself despairing of the future, not only for my adopted country but also the country I left behind nearly 25 years ago. This translates into me losing my temper and getting angry and pissed off over the most minor of things. Take for example this little story… So, this summer we moved into a bigger house in a quieter area with space for three cars. As part of this move, I forced myself...

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Marketing emails

As CTO of DevExpress , and as someone who’s had his personal email address for nearly 20 years now (I bought boyet.com in November 1998 and created my email address immediately), I get a lot of marketing-type emails, let alone those of a phishing variety. And, to be honest, I’m sure my readers are in the same boat. For quite a while now I’ve made fun on Twitter of some of the “personalized” marketing emails I’ve received (that is, those that are addressed to me, er, personally). A quick set of examples...

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Backups, Schmackups

Today we learned that Code42 are going to be shuttering their CrashPlan for Home product . If you use it – and I do – you have around 14 months to find something else and switch your online backups to another provider. Backups… I’m sure, or rather, I would hope , that you do regular backups. For us here at home, it’s complicated: daily file backup to our Synology NAS, weekly full disk backup to an external drive I only connect when doing the backups (that way, I can grab it and go if there’s an emergency...

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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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