Category Archives: Algorithms

ABC's Labor bias: Vote Compass

I am a single issue voter. I'm not proud to admit being so shallow, but there it is.  If there was a party that wanted to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020 and also drown kittens, I'd be in like Flynn - and not because I dislike kittens either. Perhaps it's because I take a root-cause view of the world.  Immigration problems?  Address climate change or it's going to get much, much worse. Not spending enough on education? Not much point in edumacation if the climate collapses around us and we're up to our ears in climate refugees. Wrong telecommunications plan? Choosing between having enough food and downloading porn faster than you can watch it doesn't seem to be much of a choice to me.

So, naturally I thought that the ABC's Vote Compass wouldn't have much trouble pigeonholing me. Except, it tells me my views align more closely with the ALP.  Although at one stage in its questioning it allows you to weight the importance of issues (which I gave as 1-3 for most, 4 for a couple and 10 for environmental) this clearly… doesn't carry any weight. The anemic 5% by 2020 cut embraced by the two major parties means neither will get my vote, regardless of the technique to “achieve” such a “challenging” target.

And yet Vote Compass thinks I'd make a good ALP voter.  I think not.  The ABC's Labour bias at it again.


Chrome doesn’t sandbox the CPU; Goggle docs waits really hard

Chrome doesn’t attempt to sandbox CPU consumption. I just closed an inactive Google docs spreadsheet, and saw CPU fall from pegged-at-100% to bubbling along at 10%.

Does it really need each available CPU cycle to wait for the other end to do something? Apparently so, in the way it’s coded.

Google: not as clever as the press release makes out.

Weird bug

Let's say, for example, that a system supplies you the time of some event in UTC, you convert it to local and shove the date/time up on the display. Say, for argument's sake, you also include the Day Of Week, ending up with a format of DD/MM, DOW HH:MM. Everything looks fine, until someone notices that the Day Of Week is wrong. The 28th of May is a Wednesday, not a Thursday.

What happened?

The date conversion routine that generates the DOW string does a bunch of odd stuff, bu

t seems to work correctly; it certainly works in other parts of the code, and generates the right string there.


The UTC time seemed to be converted to local time twice, but that wasn't the culprit; surprisingly, no-one is killed in an explosion of silicon splinters when that code is double-executed. Whatever.

Could it be that the system supplying you the time of that event in UTC is off by a year? One year into the future. That would give you that behaviour.

Check it.


Distributed computing, capitalist style

Here’s an idea: rather than sending advertisements to user’s computers, why not send scripting code to calculate [the valuable thing, like, I dunno, pi or hacking the encryption on HDDVD or something] and send the results back to your central computer?

Come on, you know you want to. And it’s free!

AJAX libraries

Two new AJAX have been released recently.

Yahoo AJAX Patterns has code and a set of patterns published under a BSD/Creative Commons license.

IBM’s AJAX Toolkit Framework is IBMs version.

Of course, Microsoft have their own version, called Atlas that’s built into ASP.NET 2.0.