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Comparison of Predictive Electronic Options Trading Markets

I'm doing some research into how electronic options markets work - and specifically those used primarily for prediction purposes. I'm familiar with them (previously wrote about prediction markets and political contracts).

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Obligatory "Upgraded My Dell Inspiron E1705 to Ubuntu Gutsy" Post

Back in April I upgraded my Dell Inspiron E1705 (which is also known as a 9400) from MSWindowsXP to Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04). It was not the easiest installation I've done, but with the help of linux on laptops directory and in particular this guide I was able to get it done. With the recent release of Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon I was excited to upgrade.

Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) Upgrade

I was expecting the worst, but got the best. I first made two backups of everything, just in case, and then followed the steps listed on the Ubuntu upgrade guide and it was a piece of cake. The only questions that seemed weird were about my Apache configuration file since I modified that. Otherwise, it worked flawlessly and was easy to understand.

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Hiring Best Practices

I just want to compare two job posts.

Hiring the Wrong Way

The first, from craigslist will disappear in a few weeks, so I've copied the best parts here:


Drupal development, theming, writing and/or modifying modules
ZenCart module development & theming

...snip...If you are interested in contract work, you must be able to provide days and times you will be available. Ours is a fast paced, multi-tasking environment. If you cannot handle moving from task to task as needed, this may not be the best environment for you.

All candidates must take and pass a test to verify their skills.

Please email with the following information:
1) Resume
2) Samples of your work
3) If interested in permanent full time employment, date when can you start

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Death to the Blog Widgets! (Or at least some better performance)

You may have noticed that I killed third party javascript widget thingies on my site (maybe not, maybe you read only via RSS). Verious money making schemes are gone (most didn't work, but that's no my focus here). I killed my site widgets because they were slow and made my site appear to be slow as well.


What are Widgets (Blog Widgets)

Widgets are the little things that people place in the sidebars and other low-value parts of their site. They do this to provide additional features, to show affiliation with something, to prove the value of their blog, to make money from their blog, basically they do it for a lot of reasons. Prominent examples include the MyBlogLog widget, Last.Fm widget, Adsense widget, Flickr photostream widget, the Google Analytics widget (hidden widget, but still a widget).

Even fast blog widgets are slow

Browsers are designed to download files from webservers. It used to be that a page was a page. You downloaded that one file and you were done. Then we got images, and css, and javascript. So your browser downloaded 4 or 5 files. Typically this was done serially (one after the other) which means that the page loads first, then the css and javascript, and finally you see the images loading into the page one after the other. Some browsers can doanload in parallel where they grab multiple files at the same time which speeds the process because it takes full advantage of your network link.

Each file that gets downloaded takes time because of the size of the file itself and also because of the additional request. Each file request has additional overhead associated with it. So, downloading 1 file that is 2MB will take less time than 2 files that are 1MB each.

Widgets add more files to your page. More files makes your page slower, even if they are served quickly. But what if they are served slowly or - ghasp - the widget server goes down.

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Why I hate PayPal (why PayPal Sucks)

I've disliked PayPal for quite some time now, but today they really bit it. Extra hard.

Withdraw Money from PayPal - Don't Mess Up!

The other day I closed an account of mine that was the default account in PayPal. Then I went to withdraw some money. It, of course, went to my default account which doesn't exist anymore. I sent in a support request about trying to cancel the transfer which got the great response "withdrawals cannot be canceled". So, now what? Does my money just disappear? No response from PayPal.

Send money with PayPal - Just Kidding!

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