Archives for April 2012

April 2012 (8)
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Visualizing four million digits of pi

I came across this remarkable image a couple of days ago. It shows four million digits of π encoded as colored pixels, with one pixel per digit. Each digit has a slightly different color. […]


“The Islanders” by Christopher Priest

While we were away last week in Paris for the Marathon, I finished The Islanders, a novel by one of my favorite authors, Christopher Priest. […]


More TVM–calculating the IRR

My insurance company allows me to pay for our car insurance by monthly premiums instead of the usual premium once every 6 months. For this option, they just divide the total six-monthly premium by six to give the monthly premium, and then charge a $5 “processing fee” per month on top. I decided to take a look at how much this actually cost me. (For background on the Time Value of Money – TVM – see parts 1 and 2.) […]


Fake magazine renewal notice

As a household, we subscribe to a few magazines. Hence we get renewal notices for those magazines regularly, and, the magazine subscription industry being what it is, we usually get two or three renewal notices per magazine subscription. On average maybe a couple per month. All well and good, no problem. […]


A birthday shock

Today is my birthday. For the first time ever, my sister Nicola sent me a text to say Happy Birthday. Yay for modern technology, especially international texting of birthday wishes from England. […]


Tightening the feedback loop when writing LaTeX expressions for MathJax

A couple of my recent blog posts have been about the Time Value of Money (one, two). They’re full of mathematical expressions, but I was tired of writing these expressions out in Microsoft Word’s equation editor, taking a snapshot of the result, and inserting the result as an image in the post. Instead I decided to try out MathJax, a quite remarkable JavaScript library that renders math expressions at run-time in the client. […]


PCPlus 305: How your operating system works

OK, I’ll admit it. This one is dead weird. Even when writing it, I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with it so it turned into this essay on what happens when you boot a PC and why the BIOS is antiquated beyond belief. I then threw in a bit about memory management and file systems. I guess you’ve just got to read it to, er, gain the full perspective. […]


Time Value of Money (part 2)

Last time we discussed that money has a time component to it, that it changes value with time. We derived the basic formula for TVM (Time Value of Money): […]