Programming

Sunk Cost Fallacy Fallacy

The problem with common sense is that it’s definitely not common. In fact, the more commonly expressed that a given piece of advice is, the less likely that it’s useful for the given situation that it is given. I choose to believe that this is because these sayings are spread by Hollywood thinking, which is when unrealistic situations are presented in which a single piece of advice magically solves a dilemma. However, it’s most likely that the common phrase simply doesn’t apply when it is suggested, it’s only suggested because it’s fresh on someone’s mind.

One such example is the Sunk Cost Fallacy. The short explanation is that if a company has been working on Process A for 6 months and expect it to take another 6 months, and Process B could be started and completed in 4 months, then the 6 months spent on Process A should have no bearing on moving to Process B. The company can’t get that time (or money) back. If there’s an emotional attachment to Process A, the time spent on it can seem like it still has a lot of value. The typical example is a company spending money on tools for producing a new product, and realizing it’s not profitable. They shouldn’t produce the product just because they bought the tools, if they know that continued activity will lose more money. The problem, though, is that there is not good example.

Where it goes wrong? There are very few things in a person’s personal life in which emotions are worthless. In order to apply the concept of a Sunk Cost in economics, there cannot be qualitative results that are incompatible with the measurement being used. I could very easily tell someone that their 25 years of going to the movie theater (more…)

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Concordance Character Bible for Google Docs

concordance_smThe first question that I ask any writer that I come across these days is simple: “What tools do you use to write?”.

There are such a wide variety of authoring tools out there that it seems every writer has their own set of tools. Where microsoft word may be popular for many to write the story, they each have a different process for brain storming and creating story webs. There even seems to be as many brands of writing software as there are ways to write! Some have amazing professional tools, some are great at publishing but not writing, some are great at brainstorming but not publishing.

So what about writers who are on a tight budget or simply would rather use Google Docs?

For me, Google Docs is a must have. What I need more than anything out of a writing tool is collaboration, web editing, and revision histories. I can hobble together story timelines and character narrative charts easier than I can handle passing around save files from computer to computer. I just always wished that Google Docs had more tools to make the job easier.

Enter Concordance Character Bible! This is the first app in (more…)

Premature Optimization is NOT the Root of All Evil

Yes, I’m also a software developer and from time to time software stuff needs to be talked about. Today is one of those days. And today’s topic, Scape Goats!

There are a few ubiquitous quotes that programmers know and share. Most people don’t get them without some background in software development, but meaningful they are.

“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”
– Brian Kernighan

“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”
– Martin Golding

“A programmer is a wonderful machine that converts coffee into software.”
– Unknown

There’s a grain of truth in each one, the problem is that the following has no grain of truth. Only a misunderstanding and a shifting of blame:

Premature Optimization is the Root of All Evil

What is it supposed to mean? (more…)

Reverting c# MVC projects from .NET 4.5 to 4.0

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but my day job is programming. When I’ve said in the past that most of my day is filled with reading, I wasn’t kidding. A tiny percentage of developing software is writing new code. Most of it is reading manuals, understanding old code, and researching problems. At the end of the day, software developers are just highly specialized researchers.

With that in mind, google is our friend. I’m typing this on my writing blog in hopes this solution to a recent problem I’ve had will get a hit in other people’s search results. So down to tass bracks. Or something like that.

MSVS 2013 Community Edition – Reverting (or downgrading) and ASP.NET MVC project from .NET 4.5 to .NET 4.0

I assumed this would have been done plenty of times, but apparently there have been some changes. In the old days, reverting .NET versions meant changing a project setting and manually changing dependent DLLs.

That’s not the case anymore (more…)