WordPress has kindly decided to remind me that this is my 400th post on my blog. I had previously done posts once every hundred posts (100 and 200) however I don’t really see the need seen as there is a search box on the right of this post.
Instead I thought that it would be interesting to look at the number 400. I don’t normally spend much time thinking about numbers and most of these facts about the number 400 have been obtained from the web however if you do want an interesting book about numbers I recommend Number Freak by Derrick Niederman which I got for my birthday last year.
Anyway, here are my interesting facts about the number 400:
- 400 is the HTTP Bad Client request response code
- 400 is the square of 20
- Children laugh about 400 times a day
- The Gregorian calendar runs on 400 year cycles
- 400 is a Harshad number
- It took my app 20 hours to get 400 downloads (it has now had over 8000)
- It is divisible by 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16, 20, 25, 40, 50, 80, 100, 200 and 400
- The closest primes are 397 and 401
- The wealthiest 400 Americans now have more wealth than the poorest 150 million combined
- Nestle has 400 factories
- Canadian teenagers put a LEGO figure into space for $400
- 400 million people use Facebook every day
- In April 2000 (4-00 date) the United States vs. Microsoft case came to an end
- The roman numerals are CD
- In binary it is 110010000
- It is 620 in base 8 (octal) and 190 in base 16 (hexadecimal)
If anyone else has any interesting facts about 400 please feel free to send them to me.
I’m in a pretty good mood today (if you know me in IRL you’ll know why) and I have suddenly just realized how happy I am about the world. A lot of people moan about how awful it is, but is actually pretty damn fantastic the way it is. We get to do loads of awesome things and we have loads of awesome things at our disposal. Sure we do have problems with the economy, various wars and climate change, but overall we are incredibly luck.
We live in a planet in the Goldilocks’ Zone which means it isn’t too near or far to the sun and we have a moderate climate that supports life. For all we know we could be the only intelligent life in the galaxy, if not the universe. We have billions of light years of space at our disposal.
Our technology may not quite be sci-fi but it is pretty cool. We have a network that connects billions of people around the world to do pretty much anything. Communication, sharing, social interaction, information, news and they way we shop has been completely overhauled by the web.
There is issue that does bother me: SOPA. SOPA looks like it is set to destroy freedom on the web. People can get sued for embedding a picture in their website. It will be a ridiculous world and frankly I would give up blogging completely if that happened. But I’m an optimist, so I hope it doesn’t.
I’ve just realized that on average I have about twenty tabs open and I often get up to about fifty in long sections of research and feed reading. I really need to be more organised.
I’ve blogged about killer apps and the Developer-User circle before but I’d like to extend those principles a little. Each platform, in the past, has had its own killer app that has brought people to the platform. The various design apps for Mac probably got Apple started whilst Office probably got Windows going. Today we don’t really see killer apps because there are significantly less platforms than there were in the mid-late twentieth century.
I would therefore propose the idea of semi-killer or version-killer apps. Assume you developed the best app ever for iOS but you only made it available for the current version. That would be instantly useful to millions of people that had a device running the current version but it would be useless for those people running earlier devices. The killer app may have been and gone for iOS however the people that can’t run the latest version are left under two pressures: social pressure and the pressure of need.
Assuming the app was a game and all of your friends had it but you couldn’t get it you would most likely want it so that you would be pressured to upgrade to a newer device. The circle may actually continue:
Today I walked into a toilet block and the light turned on as I walked in. Despite being such a little thing (that was probably automated by a switch/timer system on the door) it made me happy. A few decades ago an automated system like that would have been incredibly cool but today we just take for granted. This then made me realize that I was standing in a climate controlled building with hundreds of desktop computers within a few hundred meters and thousands of chips in general.
To somebody of the early twentieth century it would appear that we live in a completely different world. 100 years ago flight had only just been invented and yet today we can look up at the sky and see the trails of scores of airplanes. Not only that but we’ve sent man to the moon and robots to everywhere within a billion kilometers. Its certainly not bad.
Little elements of old school science fiction do exist in the modern world. We have complex displays capable of display all sorts (and they’re flat) of information and images – we can even touch them and view them in 3D. We have a complex network that connects billions of people around the planet. Billions of people carry devices that allow them to communicate with something in their hand.
Despite everything that we can do and do do every day mankind is always capable of imaging the future. We still haven’t conquered the other planets (largely due to the recession and cosmic limits) but we’ve managed quite a lot. Not bad for a civilization that’s only been intelligent for a few hundred thousand years.
A couple of American scholars (Steve Hanke and Richard Henry) have proposed an idea to change the calendar system over completely so that the September, March, June and December would have 31 days and all the other months would have 30 days. This would then mean that a date would fall on the same day of the week every year. The only problem is that they are never going to be able to get everyone to change over.
The world uses the Gregorian calendar and has done for hundreds of years for the simple reason that it works. Despite the proposed advantages of the Hanke-Henry calendar it would be pretty much impossible to change over because there are millions of devices that are all based off of the Gregorian calendar. One hundred years ago before the age of computers it may have been reasonable to change over but now it is definitely too late.
The problem lies in that most computers count the number of seconds/microseconds since January 1 1970 UTC at midnight and 32-bit computers will continue to do this for another few decades (64-bit can handle large numbers, so are able to go for a considerably longer amount of time). By changing the date systems millions of devices would have to be reconfigured so that they could handle the new dates.
Frankly I find the suggestion to change over the date system almost as mad as the campaigns to change over to the duodecimal system (base 12 – which does have mathematical advantages but almost everything is either based off of binary, octal, decimal or hexadecimal).
After having used the WordPress Freshy theme for about eight months I’ve made the decision to change to the Spectrum theme. Here’s what my blog used to look like:
And here is what it now looks like:
As the world celebrates that we happened to have achieved another orbit of the sun by launching loads of fireworks to gradually increase the international debt I sit at my computer happily Googling stuff and blogging for your entertainment. I’ve also just realized how interesting it would be if we could all emigrate to Mars because it would require a load of new months and new year would only happen every 687 (yeah, I know I rounded it up) days. That would be a lot less fireworks although it would probably be a lot less interesting because with enough propulsion they would probably jet off into space because of Mars’ thin atmosphere. I’m getting side tracked*.
I’ve already established across a few blog posts that not much is going to happen this year other than the Olympics. On the bright side you will probably write 2011 instead of 2012 (I’m going to practice to make sure that I don’t) within a few hours and within a week you will have broken all of your New Year resolutions, unless they are really easy…
*I didn’t plan to start worrying about setting fireworks off on Mars this morning.
This is probably going to be a bit of a peculiar post, but I thought I would go over all the geeky things that are going to be happening in the new year. Aside from the end of the world next year is set up to be a pretty average year, so here is some of the stuff that is happening:
- Alan Turing year: Next year Alan Turing would have been 100 so next year there will be special commemorations
- China will launch the Kuafa spacecraft
- IBM will finish Pleiades: Pleiades is a planned supercomputer that will run at 10 petaflops which is, incidentally, faster than your computer
- Quad-core smart phones: This isn’t really a surprise considering in 2010 we didn’t really have much dual core, but quad core does seem ludicrously fast
- Microsoft will release Windows 8: Windows 8 should theoretically come out next year, with rumours currently suggesting late summer/early fall
- Eros on January 31st: NASA have announced that Eros will pass Earth within 16 million miles (not to close, thankfully)
- Curiosity will land on Mars in mid-August: Having set off a few weeks back it is expected NASA’s new rover will land next August
- The world will end on December 21st: Obviously.
Basically next year looks like it will be pretty average. Sad that 2011 will be the last full year though…