· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · October
· · · · 12 (2 entries)

The Money Statement · Some­where in the code run­ning in­side our big HP house­hold print­er (and, I sus­pec­t, ev­ery oth­er print­er on the plan­et) there’s a line of code, some­thing along the lines of
if (drum_age > drum_warn­ing_level)
  display BuyNewDrumWarn­ing

Wel­l, that warn­ing mes­sage comes up aw­ful ear­ly. And it dawns on me that the val­ue cho­sen for drum_warn­ing_lev­el has an im­pact on HP’s cash flow that’s mea­sured in bil­lion­s: small­er val­ue, more mon­ey. And the temp­ta­tion to move it down and then down again over the years, that’d be ir­re­sistable.

Speedometer Suspicion · I pulled the rental on­to the Vir­ginia high­way and saw no oth­er cars, so I stomped the gas and en­joyed the kick. That par­tic­u­lar Mal­ibu seemed well set up and the nee­dle head­ed for six­ty pleas­ing­ly fast. A lit­tle too pleas­ing­ly, may­be. It oc­curred to me that au­tomak­ers have a sys­tem­at­ic bias in fa­vor of mak­ing their speedome­ters lie, on the high side of course; it makes the cus­tomers hap­py and the po­lice hap­py and prob­a­bly saves some lives. For rental­s, bought a fleet at a time, the pres­sure would be high­er. I wouldn’t be sur­prised if some Operations-Research wonk in a back-room at Hertz or Avis or some­where has done the num­ber­s: for ev­ery mile per hour of pos­i­tive er­ror on the di­al, so many few­er ac­ci­dents, so many tens of mil­lions of dol­lars of sav­ings in re­pair bill­s, so many dozen few­er law­suit­s. Plau­si­ble?
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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