November 1, 2005

Here’s the Excuse I Need….

Filed under: Economy,General — Tom @ 1:45 pm

Larger monitors make you more productive (HT Newmark’s Door; original article here):

The researchers took 15 volunteers, sat each one in front of a regular-size 15-inch monitor and had them complete a variety of tasks designed to challenge their powers of concentration – like a Web search, some cutting and pasting and memorizing a seven-digit phone number. Then the volunteers repeated these same tasks, this time using a computer with a massive 42-inch screen, as big as a plasma TV.

The results? On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly – and some as much as 44 percent more quickly. They were also more likely to remember the seven-digit number, which showed that the multitasking was clearly less taxing on their brains. Some of the volunteers were so enthralled with the huge screen that they begged to take it home. In two decades of research, Czerwinski had never seen a single tweak to a computer system so significantly improve a user’s productivity. The clearer your screen, she found, the calmer your mind.

So there’s the argument for the Apple Cinema Display (and I’ll “settle” for the 30-inch version, just to prove how thrity I am). The next task is to prove that I’ll comprehend the plot line of movies and be able to talk about the key plays in football games 44% better.

Dream on.

Non-Problem of the Day

Filed under: General — Tom @ 9:37 am

I’ll Let Someone Else Worry About This–A Y2.038K problem:

The Year 2000 problem is understood by most people these days because of the large amount of media attention it received.

Most programs written in the C programming language are relatively immune to the Y2K problem, but suffer instead from the Year 2038 problem. This problem arises because most C programs use a library of routines called the standard time library (time.h). This library establishes a standard 4-byte format for the storage of time values, and also provides a number of functions for converting, displaying and calculating time values.

The standard 4-byte format assumes that the beginning of time is January 1, 1970, at 12:00:00 a.m. This value is 0. Any time/date value is expressed as the number of seconds following that zero value. So the value 919642718 is 919,642,718 seconds past 12:00:00 a.m. on January 1, 1970, which is Sunday, February 21, 1999, at 16:18:38 Pacific time (U.S.). This is a convenient format because if you subtract any two values, what you get is a number of seconds that is the time difference between them. Then you can use other functions in the library to determine how many minutes/hours/days/months/years have passed between the two times.

(it is a fact that) that a signed 4-byte integer has a maximum value of 2,147,483,647, and this is where the Year 2038 problem comes from. The maximum value of time before it rolls over to a negative (and invalid) value is 2,147,483,647, which translates into January 19, 2038. On this date, any C programs that use the standard time library will start to have problems with date calculations.

Yeah, but I want to know what time on January 19, 2038, so I can plan for when to crawl into the bunker.

Positivity: Katrina Relief Organizations in It for the Long Haul

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:11 am

After the cameras and the microphones go away, the work continues: