Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Printing Money: A Better Way

Image via WikipediaSince the United States really likes to print money, thought I would do our civilization a favor and calculate the optimal set of bank notes to produce the fewest numbers of notes needed for any amount of cash under $1000. (You're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?)
Current State of AffairsIn the United States, there are six bills currently in fair-to-wide circulation: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. If you were to always use the biggest bills possible, then the average number of bills you would use on a given transaction where the total was less than $1000 (this is also assuming that all dollar amounts are equally likely) is 8.71. The most number of bills you would need would be for $999 => 9 $100 bills, 1 $50 bill, 2 $20 bills, 1 $5 bill, and 4 $1 bills. That's 17 bills. We can take that number down to 13 by introducing the $500, which I did for comparison's sake.

The Currency Mapper

So like any devoted computer programmer, I created a webpag…

Are Mormons Christians? Good question.

Image via Wikipedia(Btw, I tend to sound a little authoritative when I write. :) I should be clear that I don't speak for the LDS Church in any way. I am just a faithful member who has done (probably too much) thinking on the topic.)

So, last night I got a phone call from a neighbor apologizing about the fact that we wouldn't be able to come over and visit like we planned for the following day (today). They understood that the purpose of the visit was religious in nature, so the father very kindly explained that while we are welcome any time, they belong to another faith now.

No problem, IMHO. I absolutely love talking to people who changed religions, whatever direction they've gone, because it usually means that they have actually thought about what they believe as opposed to just going with the tides.

One of the things that he said, though, intrigued me. It might have been a slip of the tongue or it might reveal a little bit about his point of view. I asked him whe…

Jazz Schedule: You're not excited yet? You should be.

By nearly every account, I'm 100% nerd. Somehow, though, my father fostered in me a love for professional basketball. Looking at the rest of my priorities, I totally don't get it, but basketball is definitely one of them.

So, how 'bout those Jazz? The comeback wins are very cool, but here is what I am overwhelmingly more excited about: Road wins. In the words of Ron Boone (no, I don't have the reference), "Championship teams win on the road."

And, as you know, the Jazz have been poor on the road during the "rebuilding" years. Last year's road record, 21-20, was their best road record since 2000-2001 when they acheived 24-17. To give a rough idea of this, hear are the last 9 years on the road with the Jazz:

2009-2010, 21-20
2008-2009, 15-26
2007-2008, 17-24
2006-2007, 20-21
2005-2006, 19-22 (Deron's rookie season)
2004-2005, 8-33
2003-2004, 14-27
2002-2003, 18-23 (Stockton and Malone's last season)
2001-2002, 19-22

So, you can see, then, why I…

Life after Car Payments: Why we have yet to buy a car from this millenium

I had a bad dream last night: I dreamed that we had actually bought a car from this millennium.

Normally on Thursdays, I delve into an obscure mental math trick. But, the effect of realizing how important the fact actually is to my subconscious has motivated me to explain how it is that Kristi and I haven't had a car payment since roughly 2004.

When Kristi and I were first married in 2003, I had a Blue 1999 CR-V. I really liked the car, and the payment was only $296/month. While it was always a little embarrassing to have people get into an apparent SUV and then find out that it was only a 2.2-L four-cylinder engine that could hardly make it up Cottonwood Canyon, there were few other problems.

And it was a stick. I love driving sticks, much to the chagrin of me when I'm trying to sell the car. Apparently, there are only a few people left that prefer a stick to the degree that they will buy a stick car knowing that there are only a few others that they could sell it to once …

Starting Your Own T-Shirt Shop: What Makes a Good Pro-π-etor

(This is the second in a series of posts about how I started The Pi-Dye T-Shirt Shop. I hope that it's helpful to someone out there that is trying to start their own business.)

If there is one thing that made our t-shirt shop successful (and a whole lot funner (I know that "funner" isn't a word, but doesn't "a whole lot more fun" sound less fun?)), it is the fact that we nearly turn into pi an extreme sport, including it in every aspect of marketing, delivery, and operations that we can think of.
PricingA few years ago, I noticed, like many of you probably did, that in addition to most prices ending in "9", most Walmart prices ended in "8". If you are into Internet Marketing at all, most of those prices end in "7".

Noticing a possible pattern, and being a hopeless nerd, I decided that all of our prices would be multiples of pi. Our first "real" online shirt was listed at $12.56, which is $4*pi. This hasn't le…

Baby Names: What my daughter's name has to do with an ancient Persian Fairy Tales

If you read my previous post on my sons' names, you'll know that this post is about my daughters' names.

When we found out that we were going to have twins, I vowed that there names were not going to rhyme or alliterate. We weren't going to do Jadyn and Jordan, or Kim and Tim, or Esther and Edgar (all likely candidates for other, less elitist parents, especially Esther and Edgar). I did want the names to have something to do with one another somehow.




Felicity Mae CummingsFelicity's first name has little to do with its underlying Hebrew meaning or its tie to Biblical history and everything to do with the fact that this was a name that Kristi had always wanted one of her girls to have because she liked that it meant "happiness".

So, to tell you the truth, I didn't do a lot of research on this name because its place in our family had already been decided.

But, it was excellent material to work with. The initial spark that 'Felicity' provided gave …

Halloween Costume Ideas: My Five Nerdiest Costumes

Halloween is a difficult time for me. My heart says, "Dress up as something really nerdy!" whereas my head says, "If you do that, you'll be explaining it to non-nerds all day long!" On Halloween, my heart usually wins.
So, just in case there are any super-nerds out there, here are my five nerdiest costumes ever:
1997 - The Information Super Highway
We were sitting at Grandma and Grandpa Cummings's house, trying to decide what I should dress up as for Halloween. I had always tried to be something clever--I mean, in the third grade, I was a garbage can, and what could be more clever than that?--but this year I hadn't been able to think of anything at all.
Actually, my wife will attest today that last-minute costumes are my specialty, but that is because I am no longer a teen with gobs of time to obsess for weeks over minutiae like the best Halloween costume (no offense to any teen that is reading this). Now, I have to obsess for weeks over the best Hallow…

Baby Names: Why my boy's name is a sentence

As many of you may know, we will be having our fifth baby in just a few months (February 28th). I just recently got over the fact that next year isn't 2012, so there is no chance of the baby being born on Leap Day, so please don't bring it up.

With it being right around the corner, I've started reflecting on what kinds of names I like.

No, we're not finding out (at least until the baby is born), so we're doubling our work to come up with good boy and girl names.

Yes, our kids have very unique names. Did you know, for example, that Remi's full name is a sentence?

Joshua Remington Cummings
No, he wasn't named after the gun as hilarious as that would be now that we live in Herriman, UT.

Our first child was born in August 2004. We knew this name a couple weeks before he was born. Originally, we were going to go with "Joseph Remington Cummings," but, as you will find out, it's all about the meaning of the name for me.

Back when I was in high school, I…

Teaching Your Computer to Write Your Sacrament Meeting Talks

(This post is inspired by a great post by Orson Scott Card regarding lousy sacrament meeting talks. (Which post, incidentally, was very hard to find since the search box on mormontimes.com is broken.))

So, I'm not sure about you, but it seems to me that there are a number of "musts" when it comes to giving a sacrament meeting talk, at least in Utah. When following these "musts" you can easily take up 5 minutes of your 15-minute talk without actually talking about the topic.

The three lousy talk musts

First, you must tell some story about how you received the assignment to give the talk. This will take up a minimum of 30 seconds (e.g. I was just mowing my lawn on Wednesday when I got a call from Brother So-and-so to give a talk this Sunday) and could very well take up your whole 5-minute pre-talk.

Second, you must tell a joke. It would be better to make sure that the joke has nothing to do with the topic since that might end your pre-talk earlier than you intend…