subway oddity has these “BIG RED” high-capacity cars now, but guess what? All they did was to remove all the seats. The trouble is, this form of so-called “high capacity” doesn’t actually add much capacity. You still have to hold on to these loops or bars and there are only so many of them. The trains look more spacious though… I think they’re confusing high personal space with high capacity. (Why do “suit” and “purple” choose to stand?)

There is a better way to add capacity and reduce crowding in the subway car, however. Make the damned seats wider! What people do right now — due to some kind of human repelling force — is to skip every other seat unless the situation is really saturated, because it’s impolite and uncomfortable to squeeze next to/in between people. So MBTA ends up with half the designed seating capacity and the overflow just stand, sometimes right next to/blocking an empty seat. Just remove one seat per row and the number of seated people may increase dramatically. This applies to classrooms and other contexts, too.

Windows 7

Seems like only good reviews so far.

Not sure if that just reflects the psychological relief due to the mediocrity of Vista or what…

Whatever the case may be, the comments below the article provided some comic relief due to multiple Linux trolls jumping in with non-sequiturs. Nothing against Linux, but it is kind of funny that anything having to do with Microsoft is like a sh– magnet for Linux trolls.

by TrakerJon January 22, 2009 1:26 PM PST
Well, I’m not sure what you downloaded Don, are you sure it was Windows 7 and not Ubuntu 8.10? Windows 7 is nothing more than Vista SP2 with a couple of GUI changes that look a lot like offerings from Linux distros. Windows 7 is a huge install requiring 16Gb and I’m sorry Don but maybe you should curb your enthusiasm until you actually tried the latest release of Ubuntu…fully loaded with all the bells and whistles coming in at 4Gb hard drive space, better security, remarkable connectivity and start-up speeds and all the apps you could ever want for free.

And a response that gave me a good chuckle:

by weedmonk January 22, 2009 1:37 PM PST
When will FOSS advocates learn you can’t shove Linux down consumers throats with the zeal of Bolshevism. People have a choice and the verdict is that they’d rather pirate a 8yr old OS than deal with Linux distro’s.

Oh yes, Microsoft layoff rumors were true. Gone is the title of never having had a layoff.

bonus outrage, price transparency

GS chief gives up bonus for now… Some more discussion here and here.

Here is a money quote (pun intended):

There are instances where bonuses are justified, deserved, and in the best interests of the investment bank involved. Your very best people are people you want to hold, and your very best people will have opportunities even in this environment to transfer allegiance.

So the rationale behind the pay structure, allegedly, is to use the bonus as a kind of bribe money, to keep proprietary information (some term it “talent”, laugh) locked up within one firm. So in a way, bonuses have gotten far away from being a performance incentive.
(Read the article)

why no damping factors?

Stories like this about the sudden unwinding of the yen carry trade had me thinking.

Financial markets are some kind of dynamical system. This system has stable and unstable modes. Clearly, the unstable modes are best not to be touched, yet there are few (or not enough) regulations or systematic constraints to keep a path from falling into those.

Common experience from systems design seems to say that you have to be willing to give up some efficiency in exchange for stability. That’s why there are currency pegs (or trading bands), reserves ratios, and interest rate targets. But these are too crude. There needs to be systematic tools in all markets to damp system dynamics to a time constant on the same order as that of economic reality. You cannot have capital flooding in and out of markets and currency flooding in and out of countries at rates that cannot be absorbed or sustained by the national economies. Sure, that is “efficient”, but it also makes no sense. This is the point at which free market and market efficiency fundamentalists need to take a step back and look at the big picture and see where they are so obviously wrong.

how to get NVTV tuner to work with MCE

This tuner card kind of sucks, but it is supposed to work with Windows Media Center Edition 2005.

It doesn’t work out of the box, though. The way to get it to work is to install the following:

  1. The driver, version 1.20.45, from nVidia
  2. Forceware Multimedia 3.62 from XFX (with these two, the card will work with nVidia provided applications)
  3. April 2006 update for MCE 2005 Rollup 2 (that makes the card work under MCE)

It still craps out occasionally, but it works. Image quality is pretty good.

Edit: Wow, a couple of days playing with MCE made me realize that PC’s these days can be woken from hibernation on schedule programmatically — that’s right, hibernation, not standby, and that’s right, by software, not via wake-on-hardware. I wonder how that happens… I gotta try this on an older PC now to see if it works there, too.