USPS Forever

The United States Postal Service keeps raising postage rates. Yet, I still wonder about this statement regarding the 2 cent increase going into effect this year. 

When the postal service announced price increases in February, postal officials estimated the hike will cost the average household $3 a year. Forever Stamps not lasting long: Brisk sales before rate hike | onlineathens.com

To cost a household $3 a year, the household would need to buy 150 stamps a year. That is 12.5 a month! Obviously I am not the average household. I bought a set of 20 Forever Stamps about 2 years ago just after they became available. I just used my 5th one for something today. So projecting at the current usage the next year would cost me 4-6 cents if I didn’t have the Forever Stamps.

That’s not exactly budget breaking….

If Internet usage is causing people not to send mail anymore, then I am an exemplar.
🙂

Am I Suspicious Now?

Surely the GBI isn’t looking for anyone about 6’3″. That is a lot of folks out there…. Even me. Maybe my only saving grace is not looking like I weigh 240. Hopefully Bankhead’s quote was taken out of context? 

While Zinkhan could have changed his appearance, [Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John] Bankhead advised people to look for his build – 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. “He can’t change his height. He can shave, he can dye his hair, but he can’t change his height,” Bankhead said. Zinkhan a no-show for flight | News | OnlineAthens.com

This would be a good time to be black. Oh… Wait… I am… Sorta.

Relative Truth

Found an interesting comment on an article the state of Georgia observing the Confederate Memorial Day….

The truth of history means very little to those who are dead set against learning anything from it. No matter what the history books used in our public school system say, most will never believe anything other than their own opinion about the Civil War. History revisionist are the celebs of the day. As long as people like Rev. Wright, and David Duke exist, history’s truth will be filtered through lies and distortions. Few observe Confederate Memorial Day: UGA to display original constitution; state offices closed

Truth may very well be completely relative. Back during the US Presidential election, I ran across an interesting article in the Washington Post discussing research John Bullock did about the effects of misinformation and idealogical bias ties. I used to think it had to do with a handful of people stuck in their green, second ammendment, pro-life, pro-choice, capitalist, regulation views. My favorite pasttime in college was assuming positions contrary to others even when I agree with the others.

I doubt the effect solely affects conservatives as was proposed in the article. More likely everyone has some blindspots in determing truth from myth or fiction kind of like optical illusions. (Yes, even myself.) We have to choose which information to believe any time we interact with information. Much of the rules in philosophy and science are built around combatting the biases we have.

Rather than force ideas on others, I think we should be teaching children from an early age to recognize when others and most especially themselves are operating under a bias. Its the only way to find detachment.

Dumbfounded By The Numbers

Chancellor Eroll B. Davis Jr told the Georgia Board of Regents, “We grew essentially by a large university.” The USG gained 10,077 students (my alma mater has ~11,000) in a year. They calculate these fall term to fall term.

In the same fall term to fall term time period, in the same same university system, GeorgiaVIEW gained about 59,000 students (assumes 1/10th of 65,000 active user growth are instructors/designers). Its only 9x the system growth rate. It actually reflects a slowing in the growth rate for GeorgiaVIEW. Partly this is because we are fast approaching the number of potential users. Market penetration becomes more difficult when people are using it.

Fortunately, users will become more intelligent in their use over time. So, even though the number of users may plateau, because each user will use the system more, the amount of use will continue to increase.

Unfortunately, another DBA and I consider the number of users a more or less uninformative statistic. It looks good in news papers as its something the general public probably understands. Other numbers mean more for us:

  1. Hits – The count of items downloaded from the web servers. We often use hits as a measure of user activity. Unfortunately, we are only collecting this at the daily or monthly values.
  2. Who Is Online (Total / Active) – SQL pulls from the WIO table a count of all the rows (Total) and those whose time in the table is recent (Active). Both have issues… For example, users failing to logout and inflate the total. Active has weird spikes which suggests to me these tables are reaped every 1/2 hour or so.
  3. Storage – Amount of information stored by the users. For example, our storage growth is 2.23 times the previous year (slowing down from 2.25). The number of new users has largely slowed, but the amount of storage staying fairly consistent means to me the users are doing more with the system.

Amy’s presentation at BbWorld 2007 on capacity planning is a much more authoritative approach than this blog post.
🙂