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Showing posts from 2016

Progressive Snapshot: Is it worth it?

I turned 25 last year, which in the highly mathematical and calculating eyes of the US insurance industry meant that I had suddenly matured into a much more responsible driver than I was at 24 years and 364 days of age. As a result, I expected my insurance rates to go down. Imagine my surprise when my insurance renewal notice from GEICO actually quoted a $50 increase in my insurance rates. To me, this was a clear signal that it was time to switch companies.Typically, I score really high on brand loyalty. I tend to stick with a brand for as long as possible, unless they really mess up. This qualified as a major mess up. As a result, I started shopping for insurance quotes.Two companies that quoted me significantly lower rates (30%–40% lower) were Progressive and Allstate. Both had an optional programme that could give me further discounts based on my consenting to the companies tracking my driving habits. Now, I am a careful driver – I hardly ever accelerate hard. I hate using the brak…

On Being Bored

I’m bored.Now, Neil Gaiman would probably claim that I should be at my peak creativity because boredom, according to him, causes the mind to think in ways it would not ordinarily think. This, however, is not the case.I think I’m getting stupider as time goes by and I blame the internet and the always-connected nature of our life for this. Now, I no longer am just bored – I’m bored and stupid.Just ten years ago, I did not have even a mobile phone, let alone a “smart” phone. Ten years ago, I had to carry around every single fact, figure, and detail in my head if I had to carry on a conversation. Now, I just tend to look things up on my phone or on the internet, so I don’t have to remember anything any more. Some may say that it is a great thing, that this frees up my mind to perform other more important tasks. This is a lie – my mind has simply become conditioned to not remember things; any cognitively challenging task is simply brushed aside.Ten years ago I could effortlessly stay invo…

Go Set a Watchman

I’ve been reading Harper Lee’s book ‘Go Set a Watchman’, and I’ve only recently put it down. I’ve been really conflicted about this book, and even as I write this post, I’m not sure if I like it or not.The trouble with Watchman is that it uses the same characters as Lee’s earlier work, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and while the characters are more-or-less the same, the narrator has changed, from the child Scout to the adult Jean-Louise. This issue is further exacerbated by people wanting to look at Watchman as a sequel to Mockingbird. However, looking at Watchman as a sequel introduces some retcon issues.Watchman has a total of four paragraphs that narrate approximately the story in Mockingbird. However, in Watchman, the accused is a relation to Calpurnia, and Atticus successfully acquits him; which is very different from the Mockingbird version of Tom, who ends up being convicted, and ultimately killed.Because of this retcon, I decided to treat Watchman as a separate book by its own righ…

Thoughts on Apple vs the FBI

According to this article on the Verge, the FBI basically wants Apple to create a system that allows them to make an unlimited number of guesses, at speeds of 80 ms per guess. On a 4-digit passcode, this means that the pass-code is cracked in just under 14 minutes. With a 6-digit pass-code, it will be cracked in just about 22 hours.However, if Apple allowed creation of pass-codes of unlimited length, and someone chose a 10-digit pass-code (if you think that is hard to remember, keep in mind that most people memorise multiple 10-digit phone numbers), then the time required to crack it is around 25 years. However, the FBI or anyone cracking the pass-code also needs to know the length, so they will have to try all the way from 1-digit pass-codes to 10-digit pass-codes. 9-digit pass-codes will take around two and a half years, while 8-digit pass-codes will take 3 months.So while I do appreciate and support Apple's resistance to the FBI, I think that they will be much better off asking…