Mathias Brandewinder on .NET, F#, VSTO and Excel development, and quantitative analysis / machine learning.
by Mathias 26. October 2008 04:40

Last Friday, I had a meeting to present a VSTO Excel add-in to a client - and I got an unpleasant surprise: not only did the client not have .NET 3.5 installed on his laptop, but the IT department was not willing to install it, as they had not evaluated it. Rather than trying to convince them that 3.5 was innocuous, I thought, let's try to change the project target from .NET 3.5 to .NET 2.0. After removing all dependencies, I rebuild, do an install on a clean, 2.0-only virtual machine, and... it fails miserably, with the message "This setup requires the .NET Framework 3.5". Not good.

When I had nearly given up figuring out what reference I had forgotten (and was bracing myself for a lengthy discussion with IT), XL-Dennis came to the rescue with this post, via the Excel User Group. Thank you a million. It turns out that when you change the Target Framework from 3.5 to 2.0, most things get updated, except... the launch condition that checks the presence of the .NET Framework on the target machine, which stays stuck on 3.5. Once you manually change it to 2.0, everything works fine.

by Mathias 19. October 2008 07:41

In its October issue, Wired has a short interview of the economist Jagdish Bhagwati, on free trade. I enjoyed his point that most of the free-trade discourse focuses on free-trade agreements which are ultimately large protectionist blocks, and ignores the idea of IP free-trade.

by Mathias 18. October 2008 12:38
Silicon Valley Code Camp 2008 is coming soon now! Both my sessions have been officially scheduled for Saturday November 8, room 4201 in Foothill College. I will be giving an introduction to Test-Driven Development for C# developers at 3:45, and showing how to build an Excel 2003/2007 add-in using VSTO at 5:15. I am pretty excited about it, and hope that I'll still have enough energy left in me to visit some of the other talks. By the way, feel free to make requests on what you want me to cover (or to avoid!) in the comments, or in the Code Camp wiki!
by Mathias 12. October 2008 10:52

Via Twitter, an interesting NYT piece on political prediction markets. Just like real-life market, they are not immune to unscrupulous manipulation attempts. Apparently, in recent days, the McCain value has had odd fluctuations, possibly indicating agents trying to artificially boost its "price". But how can you recognize a regular fluctuation from an artificial manipulation? The New-York Times piece notes that:

The biggest difference between typical market movements and manipulation is that honest traders will usually try to minimize the impact of their trades on the market price; paying higher prices for an asset only cuts into profits. But a market manipulator, intent on buoying the market’s ratings of their preferred candidate, will work to maximize the impact of their trading on the price.

More on price manipulation and prediction markets here.

Edit, Oct 12, 18:43: and how the financial crisis could have been adopted with prediction markets here...

by Mathias 1. October 2008 17:22

In my previous post, I described how the Bass model can be used to forecast the market potential for a newly introduced product, using limited post-introduction data. In this post, I will apply the method to a real-world situation, to see how the method holds up in practice, what practical problems may arise, and how to address them.

The data

My objective is to evaluate the long-term share of internet traffic of Chrome, the new Google browser. I will be using actual traffic data from a medium-sized website, the technology blog of Donn Felker. In case you wonder why I didn’t use my own data, unfortunately my own traffic is not steady enough to get a “statistically decent” sample of Chrome users, and Donn was gracious enough to share his data with me (Thank you!).

The data I will be using is the percentage of visits coming from users using Chrome as a browser. It covers September 2 to September 17, 2008, the 2 first weeks of Chrome on the market.

More...

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