Monday, July 31, 2006

Juan Tripp Airline decides business people are both richer and more likely to want to return home on Friday, while the cheaper vacationers are happy flying home on the weekend. So they charge more for the Friday return flights. Bob Vacationer, however, is both cheap and works weekends, so instead of having his lovely consumer-surplus-filled vacation, he has to stay home and watch Monty Python DVDs.
Result: inefficiency/waste caused by price discrimination.

The textbook and Wikipedia articles I've read never seem to mention this--though I'm sure it's covered somewhere in papers and cleverer textbooks. Does competition deal with this somehow? I guess it must not or else we wouldn't have imperfect price discrimination, eh?

Monday, July 24, 2006

If you're hoping for a long, thorough essay covering all sorts of inadequacy and annoyances of Javascript, you're out of luck. I just have one thing to whine about today: lack of interpolation.

I do a lot of stringish stuff in Javascript. Loads. Just recently I was editing this argument: sp + ',' + mp + ',' + dp + ',' + type + ' ' + x + ',' + y + ' (' + done + '/' + total + ')'

That's ugly. Even more than it's ugly, it's a major pain to type out. $sp, $mp, $dp, $type $x $y ($done/$total) is slightly annoying, but almost incomparably better.

sprintf could help, but is still majorly annoying. I want interpolation.

(The biggest Javascript annoyance is, of course, incompatibility, especially when combined with IE's inability to give useful error messages.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A cursory run v. a cursory walk. Redundant beats contradictory.

Friday, July 21, 2006

(Potentially relevant link)

Yahoo! Answers is funner than Google Answers because it has points. XP like E2, essentially. Unfortunately, it sucks big time. This is for several reasons, most of which boil down to lack of accountability. If you look at ten random questions, you'll likely find at least that many incorrect answers, and probably a fair number of 'i dont know'/'look it up's. The people posting such answers get two points for it, and lose nothing for being wrong or unhelpful. You can't downvote the person claiming only three countries ban flag desecration or the morons claiming allosaurus or tyrannosaurus rex as the largest meat-eating dinosaurs or claoming infinity is the largest prime number. Only occationally will you find the incorrect answer being chosen as best answer (an exta ten points), but posting an obviously incorrect answer shouldn't gain you any points.

In addition to the idiots giving and voting for incorrect answers, there's a more prevelant problem--though perhaps a less troublesome one: multiple (often ten+) people will post the same (correct) answer to a question. And I don't mean nearly at the same time so perhaps they didn't see the earlier answers. They can be hours apart, and the same one-word answer will be posted again and again. It's essentially spam, but not considered so by Y!A.

A third problem is that there's little to no community cohesion. On E2, I knew the people and they were--for the most part--friendly. On Y!A, people are relatively unknown and more often trolls than anywhere but Usenet.

Y!A's moderation is this: major abuses get deleted and good (and some bad) answers get extra points. But I could probably gain thousands of points a day just by doing what most people do: post the same, one-word, useless answer as everyone else on simple questions. The primary thing Y!A needs to change is moderation. Punish incorrect and repetetive answers instead of rewarding them.

Oh, and while I'm complaining, it's filled with useless/poorly-formed questions. But that's not quite so bad since you don't gain points for posting questions. (Actually, you lose them, but then regain them when you pick the best answer)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

(Potentially relevant link)

A book by Brigid Brophy, Michael Levey, and Charles Osborne.

I haven't read it, but I've read the E2 node a few times. Summary: here're fifty books that have been parodied and rehashed and made tribute to so many times that we recognise any references to them without needing to read them.

Is it true? I don't know. /Hamlet/ is on the list, and you don't need to have read that to be very familiar with it, but I don't recognise many of the titles on the list. I guess its about their being alternate works to which to redirect the references, not there being common knowledge about them.

That's all. I just felt like posting something here, and that's what I came up with. Sorry.