Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Politics: They Rule

Check out this great web site called They Rule -
They Rule allows you to create maps of the interlocking directories of the top companies in the US in 2004.
The data was collected from their websites and SEC filings in early 2004, so it may not be completely accurate - companies merge and disappear and directors shift boards.

What a great concept! And it looks really good too. I'm not sure how I'd use this, since I'm not conducting research at this level, but..

There are a lot of user-built maps which are great to look at.. Check out linkages for the CFR (Council Of Foreign Relations).. Lot's of mates there!

Life: The Continuing Saga of That Damn Car Stereo

Yesterday I rode to work in order to drop off my car to be repaired (see a previous post). When I picked it up, they had the gaul to charge me for a 'ground loop'.. I don't even know what that is, but clearly, it sounds like something they should have checked for in the first place.

At least I had music, I thought. So, I'm sitting in traffic playing with the remote control (which is kind of cool, even though basically useless), when I realise that the b@stards haven't hooked up the front speakers... The good ones! How can you miss such an important part of an install? I can't help but ask - What were they on?

I think this time I'll do the work myself.. Damn them. There goes my sleep in this Saturday!

It's worth noting that the company in question is Strathfield Audio in the Adelaide CBD. Not good enough boys.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Life: The Screech Of An Unearthed Stereo

As someone who writes software for a living, I'm always thinking about testing. Not that I like testing, but testing is the only way to validate your work. Even the most confident programmer checks the basic operation of his work.. right?

Well, it seems that the same rules don't apply when installing a new car stereo. At least, not on a Saturday morning. I just spent over $300 on an MP3 car stereo, and was shocked to find when I drove off that there was a shreiking sound coming from the speakers which exactly matched the motor's speed. Having spent my youth installing car stereos, I immediately knew the problem - The earth wire had not been secured. It's fine when the stereo runs alone, but not when the motor is on. Great.. I'll just turn the motor off at the lights, shall I?

A simple test would have been to run the stereo, at the same time as the motor. Not too tough, right? It goes to show that a little time spent making sure the job is done right will save time in the future. Not only my time, but the next poor sap who will be handed this job in his lunch break.. I can only hope its the *same* guy who stuffed it in the first place.

Of course, such a lesson is timely reminder to all programmers. NEVER assume that just because you got it right every other time, that you don't need to test this time.. Of course you do!