I really hate checking my voice mail. It’s fucking retarded. I get a text that someone left me a voice message, and then I have to call the special voice mail number, navigate the painfully slow menu, until I finally get to hear the guy’s message, which is most often to the tune of “Uh, hi… Uh… I guess… You’re not there. It’s Jeff… I wanted to talk to you about something. It’s about… Uh… Never mind, just call me back.”
This morning I was lying in bed for a while before getting up, and an idea for a cute logical riddle came to me.
Four kids are standing in an amusement park holding a helium toy balloon. Each kid holds his own end of a thread, but there’s only one single toy balloon for the entire group. If any of the four kids let go of their own thread, the toy balloon will fly up to the sky and be lost, even if the remaining three kids keep holding to their respective threads.
How are the threads arranged? Post your answers in the comments!
Update: Many people solved the riddle in different ways that I didn’t think of in the comments. Congrats! Now your next task: Generalize the problem to N kids and M balloons, find the function that gives the number of threads needed for each combination, and then send a link to an interactive 3D plot of it :)
Nowadays there are many applications that use the wonderful concept of Frecency.
“Frecency” is a combination of “frequency” and “recency”. For example, say that I have a dear friend named Bob Jones to whom I write emails every day. I may have many Bobs in my address book, but when I start a new message in GMail and start typing “Bob”, GMail is smart enough to offer me Bob Jones as the first choice, because that’s the Bob to whom I’ve written the most often to recently.
I’m a long-time paying user of Dropbox, and for a few months now I’m also a beta user of the competing AeroFS service. Both services are excellent and revolutionary. But I’m frustrated with how slow Dropbox’s LAN sync is. When I put a file on my Dropbox on my desktop computer, I expect it to appear in my Dropbox on my laptop very quickly. But Dropbox takes a really long time to transfer the file, probably because it’s trying to first transfer it to the Dropbox servers instead of directly to my laptop. AeroFS, on the other hand, does it much faster, probably because the transfer is done directly.
In this video I’ve measured and compared the time it takes Dropbox and AeroFS to transfer an 8.5 Megabyte file from my desktop to my laptop. Dropbox took 12:28 minutes, while AeroFS took only 00:08 seconds. AeroFS is x87 faster than Dropbox in moving a file over the LAN.
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