The benefit to the merchants is clear: They would save the swipe fees they pay to the credit card companies now, which average about two percent of the cost of transactions.

Wouldn’t consumers benefit as well from reduced transaction costs? A service that cuts out Visa, Mastercard, and Amex, sounds like a step forward to me assuming they address privacy and data security as well. In the newer systems, apparently Apple and Google add an additional transaction fee, which kicks back to Apple and Google respectively. As far as security and privacy go, I trust my bank better than I do a company like Apple, which clearly has a thing to two to learn about data security and privacy.


SimCity is buggy!

I was pretty excited about this release, but the game as it currently stands is so riddled with bugs it’s practically unplayable. I’ve had multiple cities go down as a result of the dreaded “your city is not processing correctly” error, I’ve had one city simply disappear off the server it was supposed to be saved on, and last night I lost a city after it went nuclear despite a high education level for all the workers. The potential here is great, but this game is currently not worth the effort since you are pretty much guaranteed to lose your work after a few days of playing.

Maybe in six months once they work out all the bugs, but currently I just don’t feel like playing knowing something will eventually go wrong and I’ll have to start over.

Surface RT Jailbreak

Link here.

I’ve been experimenting with getting Firefox running on the RT. VS 2012 has full support for ARM development, and the ARM version of Windows 8 supports the Win32 API. Amazing really, Microsoft obviously thought about allowing 3rd party development, but backed out at some point. The tools though are there and work.

Hard Drive Perf

WD, 7200 rpm
Sequential Read : 88.048 MB/s
Sequential Write : 69.699 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 40.149 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 69.042 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 0.554 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 1.007 MB/s

OCZ Vertex3, solid state
Sequential Read : 221.362 MB/s
Sequential Write : 220.076 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 202.623 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 199.977 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 21.914 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 57.040 MB/s

WD, USB 2.0, 7200 rpm

Sequential Read : 27.620 MB/s
Sequential Write : 28.172 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 20.949 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 25.942 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 0.612 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 0.770 MB/s

Seagate micro, USB 3.0, 5400 rpm

Sequential Read : 29.525 MB/s
Sequential Write : 30.093 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 21.548 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 29.557 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 0.667 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 3.777 MB/s

Solid state drives rock. Interesting too that a USB 3.0 5400 rpm beat a USB 2.0 7200 rpm drive.

With various tweaks to settings for the solid state drive:

no write caching
Sequential Write : 189.780 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 193.286 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 58.288 MB/s

with write caching, write buffer flushing
Sequential Write : 220.076 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 199.977 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 57.040 MB/s

with write caching, no write buffer flushing
Sequential Write : 228.540 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 196.989 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 57.035 MB/s

Write caching helps, but turning off flush isn’t needed for the best performance.

Update – adding data from a new Microsoft Surface Pro – this is pretty mind blowing. The integrated Micron RealSSD C400 is freaky fast –

Surface Pro Micron RealSSD C400

Sequential Read : 492.928 MB/s
Sequential Write : 114.242 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 385.979 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 114.220 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 20.494 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 43.988 MB/s

Compare that to my OCZ Vertex3 above. Wow.

How does this compare to expanded storage with a 64GB Kingston MicroSD?

Surface Pro Kingston MicroSD expansion

Sequential Read : 37.170 MB/s
Sequential Write : 13.813 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 33.336 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 1.030 MB/s
Random Read 4KB : 4.162 MB/s
Random Write 4KB : 0.482 MB/s


Taxes go up in California again

* Raises California’s sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25%, a 3.45% percentage increase over current law
* Imposes a 10.3% tax rate on taxable income over $250,000 but less than $300,000
* Imposes an 11.3% tax rate on taxable income over $300,000 but less than $500,000
* Imposes a 12.3% tax rate on taxable income over $500,000 up to $1,000,000
* Imposes a 13.3% tax rate on taxable income over $1,000,000

I don’t think people who live there realize just how much they pay for the privilege. When I moved down to Florida I was blown away by the difference in cost of living, and the costs just keep going up. Not my problem! 🙂