Disclaimers: This is not a new book, nor have I read it.  I have read reviews of it, and am recommending its concept here, but can’t honestly recommend the book, not having read it.  OK, that probably sounds awkward, but there you have it.

I found this review of the book The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu’s Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work, which is a modern interpretation an application of the original The Ar Of War by Sun Tzu, now thousands of years old, yet still relevant.  The reason I am promoting this book’s view of the original work is simple: It points out that The Art Of War is not just relevant to war.  It is relevant in any situation where you are facing one or more parties with conflicting goals, or competing for the same resource.  It could be at work, or dating, or politics, or even dealing with your relatives.  It’s mostly about finding your strengths and the others’ weaknesses and using both to your advantage.  It’s about looking for things in your environment that can help you.  It’s about focus and balance.

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I found this trolling various blogs on wordpress.com.  You know, the way we geezers used to surf the internet before Google indexed everything?  Anyway, here is the National Post‘s round-up of The Best Financial Jokes Of 2009 So far.  In this case, the nation is Canada and the section is Financial.

Here are some of my favorites from the list:

  • Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has adjusted its investment portfolio: 50% cash and 50% canned goods
  • The courts allowed the bankruptcy proceedings for Chrysler to go forward. The bankruptcy was approved after the judge told Chrysler to sit in a room for a few minutes while the judge went to talk to his manager.
  • How many stockbrokers does it take to change a light bulb?
    Two. One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes (knowing that it’s already burned out).

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A ring buffer is a way of storing information from a continuous stream in a fixed-size container.  It’s called a ring buffer (or circular buffer) because conceptually, the two ends are joined.  There’s no beginning or end of the storage.  Imagine you hav a circular table.  There’s a pointer to where on the ring the next bit of data should be added by the data producer, and that pointer works its way around the ring.  But there’s also a pointer to where on the ring the next bit of data should be read by the data consumer, and that pointer works its way around the ring in the same direction, always consuming the oldest data and working its way to the newest data.  If the producer adds data and moves its pointer, and it hits the consumer’s pointer, you have a buffer overrun. The producer gets stressed out and forgetful. There’s data to store and nowhere to put it.  If the consumer reads data and moves its pointer, and it hits the producer’s pointer, you have a buffer underrun.  The consumer has read all the data there is and is starting to get bored and cranky.

In the world of computers, ring buffers are often used to hold data that comes in from an input device for a very short time until it can be processed.  It has the advantage of never needing to dynamically allocate or free memory, which is time-consuming.  The big disadvantage is that “full is full”.  You can’t easily make the ring larger without funky chaining and lookup tables, and then you’ve lost your performance advantage over keeping a pool of memory blocks around and reusing them.

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