Older blog entries for cbbrowne (starting at number 1)

13 May 2003 (updated 13 May 2003 at 19:40 UTC) »

It has been a while since the last diary entry...

Entertainment of the week is BlogShares.com; this involves "investing" in "shares" in various peoples blog diaries.

Value is enhanced assortedly by:

  • The vagaries of supply and demand; popular shares get bid up in price;
  • The numbers of incoming links, which are considered a metric of popularity

Here are some interesting blogs. (These should be counted as incoming links, enhancing stock values :-).)

  • SARS BLOG

    I live about a mile away from the main SARS hospital in Canada...

  • Wil Wheaton's BLOG

    His Star Trek character was pretty irritating, but the actor isn't...

As a completely different matter, I'm curious as to where Nat Friedman's "GNU Rope" has gone. I was at the 1998 ALS G-Rope talk which described this tool, whose purpose was to rummage around object files, rearranging code to improve locality of reference.

Nat has gotten busy with other things, involved with Ximian; it is not evident what happened to this.

Lately, I've been involved with discussions surrounding the representation of commodity values for the GnuCash project.

The "problem" is thus:

  • People want to track various different commodities, including money, in multiple currencies.

    I, for instance, have bank accounts in both the United States and Canada, in the relevant currencies.

  • People want to track stock portfolios, that introduce all the varying sets of stock commodities.

    The PROBLEM is that these are all denominated in different terms. Dollar amounts usually are decimal fractions in units of 1/100 dollars. Stocks often are represented as integer quantities, although sometimes you can wind up with fractional shares. Mutual fund unit quantities tend to be represented as decimal fractions in units of 1/1000 or 1/10000 shares. In some cases, things are denominated as fractions based on 16ths or 64ths.

That briefly characterizes the "quantity" issue.

But then there is the "price" issue. You join together two commodities, and have some translation ratio, say for translating US dollars to CDN dollars, or for translating RHAT stock to $USD.

There has been a great "flame war" over this; there is some desire to have a "grand, unified quantity data structure," although that seems to me to be a bit unrealistic, as the denominator is always based on the nature of the commodity, which isn't part of the quantity.

Once the roar settles down, the "Grand Unified Data Structure For Prices" is likely to fall out of this in a reasonably natural way.

Note that floating point values are not well suited to this, as FP isn't TOTALLY stable...

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