Today I learned

1. Apr 4, 2017

Jonathan Scott

Today I learned that it was nothing like as easy to replace my cooker hood fan motor as I had hoped.

Firstly, the new wires were black, white, red and brown but the old one had blue, black, grey, white (and a circuit diagram inside the hood). On the old one blue = neutral, black = speed 1, grey = speed 2, white = speed 3. From a considerable amount of Googling I eventually came to the provisional conclusion that on the new one red = neutral (!), black = speed 1, white = speed 2, brown = speed 3, which fortunately turned out to be correct (given that there were 23 ways of getting wrong). Secondly, the new one just had bare wires but the old one had crimped spade terminals to fit approx 2.5mm blade contacts on the back of the switch. I ended up breaking the spade terminals off the end of the old wires and soldering the new wires to them. Thirdly, I needed at least 3 hands to put the hood back. I had got half way (using a stack of folding crates to prop things up) when fortunately my wife came home and was able to help. At least it seems to work well.

I had only just got started on it when I somehow ended up chewing a large chunk of tooth, losing about 1/4 of a premolar. Fortunately it doesn't hurt and I've arranged to see a dentist tomorrow morning. By then I'll probably have a hole in my tongue from probing the sharp edge!

And I've got a baroque concerto rehearsal this evening, where I play harpsichord continuo, so I have to take my not-very-portable digital keyboard and carry it between the car park and the church, which is not easy.

I only had time for this because I hadn't yet taken all my vacation for the last year, and the company has a policy of "use it or lose it", so I'm on vacation from today for nearly 3 weeks. I'm beginning to think I'd rather be working. As it is, I expect to have a scary backlog when I return.

2. Apr 4, 2017

Staff: Mentor

Today I learned that unplugging a cable and plugging it right back in can solve many a technical issue.

3. Apr 4, 2017

phinds

Four Microsoft programmers went out to lunch together and the guy who was driving, his car wouldn't start. So they all got out of the car and then got back in again and it started right up.

4. Apr 4, 2017

phinds

I've also noticed a couple of times that just plugging it in in the first place solves some problems.

5. Apr 4, 2017

DennisN

I simply could not resist posting

6. Apr 4, 2017

Staff: Mentor

Indeed. Much like how eating food solves your hunger problem.

Note: Food doesn't work like cables. Don't try to unplug it and plug it back in. Unless you're a dog (not a joke at Phinds' expense, but could be).

7. Apr 4, 2017

8. Apr 5, 2017

Staff: Mentor

If it would be that easy for everyone...

9. Apr 5, 2017

Jonathan Scott

Yesterday I learned not to underestimate a blackbird's communication skills!

We had some overripe and somewhat battered small bananas which were probably going to be thrown out, but I suggested seeing if the birds would like them, so I chopped one up and put it out on the edge of the patio, next to the lawn. During the day, we saw a couple of blackbirds taking pieces very enthusiastically, and the number of remaining bits went down gradually.

Later in the day, all of the pieces were gone. I then saw a blackbird fly down, look briefly towards the house (presumably to see if I was around), then hop very deliberately towards where the food had been. It then put its head down as if to peck at some invisible food, turned its head both ways as if surprised and wondering where it had gone, then stepped back and stared straight at me, waiting for a while.

When I'd stopped laughing I chopped up and put out another banana, which disappeared much more rapidly than the first.

10. Apr 5, 2017

phinds

Yeah, those little boogers are amazingly intelligent. I read about a flock that learned to pick walnuts (I think it was) off of trees and get them open by dropping them on a busy road way then swooping in when there was no traffic to pick up the pieces after they had been "opened" by car tires.

11. Apr 5, 2017

phinds

For decades I've been using the current (well, more or less ... due to cost I'm usually several years behind) Microsoft Integrated Development Environment to do all my software development (other that web page HTML). I don't remember what I paid for my "current" version which is Visual Studio 2008 but the retail was something like $500. I've been seriously thinking about upgrading so started checking out prices a few days ago. Visual Studio 2017 was shown as$499 retail which is about what I expected and I had been figuring I'd have to shell out about that much. Then I saw some entries in Google Search that implied that you could get it free. I dismissed that as being a silly April Fool's joke but there were several entries and it nagged at me so I checked it out and damned if it isn't actually true. I still thought it was some seriously under-powered version, but today I finished doing a small project with it and am fully satisfied that it is the real deal. It is a noticible improvement over my 2008 version (no surprise there) and it REALLY IS FREE to individuals. They charge for the "pro" version and they charge even more for enterprise versions but what they are now calling the "community" version, free even for teams as long as they are no bigger than 5 developers, is more than enough for my needs and definitely more powerful than my 2008 version. Not only that but I can now have it on both my desktop AND my laptop without violating the "1-user" licensing agreement. I never thought I'd see Microsoft giving away serious professional software.

12. Apr 5, 2017

Demystifier

Today I learned that Avast free antivirus software is better than AVG. In last 2 years, and especially in last few months, my Windows 7 (on a relatively old laptop) was very slow. It was very frustrating. I tried many things to speed it up, but nothing really worked. Finally, on internet I found an advice to uninstall AVG antivirus software and to install Avast instead. It worked! Now my old laptop is reasonably fast again. I'm happy now!

13. Apr 5, 2017

Aufbauwerk 2045

@phinds regarding Visual Studio, I'm just curious what features of the pro versions you needed, which made it impractical to use the free Express versions?

Also, did you ever try using GNU tools with a free IDE such as Code::Blocks, instead of a Microsoft product?

I'm not asking in any biased way, just curious. Thanks.

14. Apr 5, 2017

Staff: Mentor

They even use traffic lights for safety reasons:

15. Apr 5, 2017

phinds

I use MS products for the simple reason that I've used them for about 40 years and see no reason to change. As to VS Pro, I don't even remember WHY I got that but I'm sure there was a reason. I don't use VS 2017 Pro 'cause that DOES cost money. The "community" version is free and does way more than I need.

16. Apr 5, 2017

collinsmark

Microsoft has been giving away a free version of their compilers for a long time -- over a couple of decades now (at least) I'm sure. This is important to know.

Today, the free versions are pretty much the same as, if not identical to, their paid counterparts in terms of their code compiling abilities and most individual oriented IDE features. The differences are mostly that the paid versions have tools that allow easier collaboration with other programmers/software engineers. But if you are programming on your own you would likely never use these additional features anyway. (Oh, the paid versions also include some sort of support if you need to speak directly with Microsoft.)

Here is a link to a comparison between the different versions of Visual Studio 2017.
https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/compare/?icid=VS_Cat-ModD-VS_Compare-030717

Occasionally, even here on PF, I'll whip out a program for whatever reason -- maybe to solve a fun riddle or somesuch -- and I'll sometimes get responses that have a feel to them, "A computer program?! What, are we Mr. Money Bags now?!" But they are free. Given that fact and the ease of obtaining, there is really no excuse for anybody with a computer not to code once in awhile.

17. Apr 6, 2017

jim hardy

hmmmm for an old guy who loved Qbasic and whose assembler days were forty years ago (not Intel)

is there any hope of learning the rudiments of that Studio language ?

18. Apr 6, 2017

phinds

The problem is that it is NOT a "language", it is an environment and the details go WAY beyond mere language syntax. A lot of your time is spent navigating/using the environment, not directly crafting code. So, not easy but doable I'm sure.

19. Apr 6, 2017

Sharky1

I learnt that people on acid lose weight........................Can't get to the fridge when a dragon is guarding the bloody thing!!

20. Apr 6, 2017

George Jones

Staff Emeritus
Today I learned that some mathematicians like root beer.

21. Apr 6, 2017

OmCheeto

Ain't that the truth. I've had Macbooks for 10 years now, and still haven't figured out the Xcode "environment".
But that doesn't stop me. Every year, I create a new "project".
My latest project's name: "nevergiveup".
It would appear that on my last attempt , I learned how to put in a "text box".

It will probably take me another 5 years to figure out how I did that.

ps. And just to keep my post somewhat up to date and on topic:

A few days ago I learned:

page 57
Bayes’ theorem
The simplest way to express Bayes’ theorem without using mathematical notation is this:
The posterior is proportional to the prior times the likelihood.
My interpretation:
What will happen is about the same as what happened before.

page 58
Another useful feature of the Bayesian paradigm that is worth mentioning and nicely captured in a simple phrase is:
Today’s posterior* is tomorrow’s prior.
My interpretation:
I told you so!

ref: a primer on BAYESIAN STATISTICS in Health Economics and Outcomes Research
Copyright ® 2003 MEDTAP International, Inc

-----------
*I found it most entertaining looking up the word "posterior", as I, being somewhat base, considered it a metaphor, for "butt", and didn't quite understand what "butts" had to do with statistics.

Anyways, the "non-base" definitions are even more entertaining, as they appear to be somewhat opposites:

pos·te·ri·or
1. ANATOMY
further back in position​
2. formal
coming after in time or order; later.​

I can see now that being somewhat scientifically literate, I may have overthought the problem.
"coming after in time" means that the posterior is in the front, time-wise.

hmmmm....

as always.....

Never mind.

22. Apr 6, 2017

Staff: Mentor

I can well imagine this.

23. Apr 6, 2017

George Jones

Staff Emeritus
Today, in a coffee shop, I was looking up stuff on roots (particular linear functionals on the Cartan subalgebra of a Lie algebra) in the index of the book "Lie Groups, Lie Algebras, and Representations" by Brian Hall, and I found the entries below.

24. Apr 6, 2017

collinsmark

Particularly root beer served in a square glass.

25. Apr 6, 2017

Staff: Mentor

Can you copy p. 325?

And I never thought of "root - [beer] - weight" before. Good there are negative weights, too.

And there's another question I have:
Do you have to visit a basket ball game, if you want to look up Dunking diagrams?

(I once visited a coffee shop with a friend. It was quite crowded so we sat on a table where some economy students already were sitting. My friend placed his book "Integral- and Differential Equations" on the table. ... After ten minutes or so, we had been alone at the table.)