When
· 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 <br/> <code>if (drum_age > drum_warning_level)<br/>   display BuyNewDrumWarning</code><br/> Well, that warning message comes up awful early. And it dawns on me that the value chosen for <code>drum_warning_level</code> 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.
[4 comments]  
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?
[27 comments]  
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