36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

July 20, 2010

Interviews With Hayek

Filed under: Catallactics — Kevin Feasel @ 5:17 pm

From beyond the grave!  Or at least before the grave.

Organizations and Markets point out what appears to be a great series of interviews with FA Hayek.  My desires include a discussion between Buchanan and Hayek on constitutions, and just to hear Leijonhufvud talk with Hayek about anything at all—that would have to be interesting.  The Alchien one should also be great.

July 19, 2010

Sailer On The Winners Class

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness — Kevin Feasel @ 8:48 pm

Steve Sailer has a theory regarding the Winners Class:  he sees them as the group of high-energy, white bobos David Brooks talked about.  I completely believe that this group of people exists, especially in Sailer’s southern California, but I don’t think they’re quite as prominent as he might suggest.

He has also, in previous posts, talked about just how much effort these people put into putting little Johnny and Janie through life, creating a roadmap going from conception to the Supreme Court (for a similar story for the right age group, think when Carlton laid out his life plan at the Yale[?  Princeton?  It's been a while...] admissions office—he absolutely had to go to this school because he planned his entire life out and it just has to go that way!).

July 18, 2010

Vote For Steve

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 8:23 pm

I’m not actually a member of PASS (one of these years…), but if I were, I’d vote for Steve Jones.  If I were the type to vote for such things…  He’s done a great job with SQLServerCentral, is very active in the community, and I’d say other things, but I want this to be as generic as possible so I can use it for somebody else in the future and save on typing out a blog post…

July 17, 2010

Are Smartphones The Future?

Filed under: Computing Devices — Kevin Feasel @ 9:53 pm

Eric S. Raymond says yes.  Even though I don’t personally have a smartphone, I can see this being the case.  Yesterday, a few guys and I were having a discussion regarding phones.  For all but one of them, they said that they didn’t imagine that a smartphone would be all that important for them, but as soon as they started playing around with it, even their non-techie wives were interested.  There was only one person who really wasn’t impressed with smartphones—or at least couldn’t find a reasonable use.  I’m kind of in that camp as well, at least for now (that and I don’t want to pay the bandwidth fees…).  But I do think Raymond has a good point:  you can get a somewhat-decent (and improving) camera, GPS device, various sensors, small gaming platform, telephone, MP3 player, video player, electronic book reader, data storage device, etc. etc. in just one device.

But the big complaint may be that none of these are quite as good as the distinct devices.  The camera, for example, isn’t anywhere near a point-and-shoot, much less a DSLR.  Each of the other devices is also lacking in various ways.  So it’s nice to have a jack-of-all-trades device, but there are good use cases for the rest of the devices.  So the major question is, to what extent will the smartphone market eat the individual device markets?  Raymond seems to argue that this will be extensive, but I’m not quite as sure.  Though I should make mention that I do agree with him on the substance of his argument, and would only differ in (perceived) market size.

July 15, 2010

Women In Technology: Another View

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 7:44 pm

It’s generally folly to ignore Eric S. Raymond when it comes to computers, and it’s still true when it comes to women in technology.

July 14, 2010

Eh, It’s Czech Land

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Feasel @ 7:41 pm

It doesn’t surprise me at all that this comes from the Czech Republic.

July 13, 2010

SSIS And Excel On A 64-Bit Server

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 9:16 pm

So here’s the setup:  I created an SSIS package which, among other things, reads an Excel file for certain data.  Working in development, the package ran just fine.  But when I published it to production, I started getting an error, namely, “The Excel Connection Manager is not supported in the 64-bit version of SSIS, as no OLE DB provider is available.”

The fix for that is to run the package in 32-bit mode.  But when trying to run in 32-bit mode, I still got the same error.  This lead me to look around some more.

After Googling it some more, I discovered that the fix for that is to install BIDS or the Client Tools.  Not wanting to install BIDS (I’m trying to install the minimum number of tools necessary for each server), I installed the Client Tools.  But that didn’t fix the problem—I still couldn’t find the right executable.  I had to install BIDS on the server.  After installing BIDS, everything worked fine.

By “everything worked fine,” I mean “I ended up with yet another problem.”  This time, “The requested OLE DB provider Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0 is not registered.”  In this case, the problem is that I didn’t have Office installed on the server.  There’s a pretty good reason Office wasn’t installed on that server:  I don’t want it to be!

Fortunately, there is a solution.  It involves downloading Office data connectivity components.  Here’s a warning, though:  after you download and install the components, your ODBC driver listing still won’t include them, if you go through the Control Panel.  The reason is that this is the 64-bit ODBC viewer, located at C:\Windows\System32\odbcad.exe.  If you want to check to make sure that the drivers are installed, go to the 32-bit version:  C:\Windows\SySWoW64\odbcad.exe.

But after all of this, everything really worked fine.

July 12, 2010

Know Any Serbians?

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness — Kevin Feasel @ 8:56 pm

Showerheads. Good thing the government’s got their priorities in order.

July 10, 2010

In The Papers: Productivity Differences In The Americas

Filed under: Economics, In The Papers — Kevin Feasel @ 10:27 pm

Daron Acemoglu and Melissa Dell have a paper out entitled Productivity Differences Between and Within Countries.


We document substantial within-country (cross-municipality) differences in incomes for a large number of countries in the Americas. A significant fraction of the within-country differences cannot be explained by observed human capital. We conjecture that the sources of within-country and between-country differences are related. As a first step towards a united framework, we propose a simple model incorporating both differences in technological know-how across countries and differences in productive efficiency within countries.

They note that “among eleven Latin American countries for which we have municipality level data, the between-municipality differences in individual labor income are about twice the size between-country differences,” but that when the United States is included, the ratio reverses (1).  But only half of the former differential fits differences in human capital (ibid).  As a result, the authors try to figure out an explanation for their residual results.  Their theory is that differing institutions lead to different levels of productivity, and that institutions explain most of the residual differences.  Areas with poor local institutions—more corruption, more red tape, less protection of property—will under-achieve given a certain level of physical and human capital.

I had a few arguments in the margins of my copy of the paper, but won’t include them here because they weren’t too pertinent.  I will say that there were a couple of points I disagreed with concerning migration options, at least in the case of the United States, but they lay out their framework pretty well, and make a good point that institutions and human capital are both important.  Over the past few decades, we’ve seen two distinct schools grow up:  developmental economics and new institutional economics.  The development side focuses on human capital, and the new institutional school focuses on, well, institutions.  The two tend not to meet very often, and this is a mistake—to get the full picture, you have to see both sides.

For a federalist, this is an important paper.  We talk about the benefits of federalism:  greater scope for competition, the possibility to come up with better solutions, reduction of tension between groups (because they can differentiate themselves geographically), and so forth.  But at the same time, there are also costs:  institutions are valued not simply from a “general” standpoint (though do note that I’m not fond of social welfare functions and I mean “general” only in a highly-theoretical sense that we could never measure and provides only educational context), but more importantly, from the standpoint of the individuals who determine the institutions.  In areas with tight local control, local bosses have more influence over the creation of institutions than we would like to give them credit for having.  This means that the institutions are going to be, to some extent, shaped in the image of those local bosses.  As a result, unless you have perfect mobility—something that we are still rather far from having today—there may be enough barriers to exit to prevent institutions from being selected strictly on competitive grounds.  If we did have perfect mobility, people could leave and go to the places with better institutions, leading to including institutions in geographical competition.  But without it, we can still end up with inferior institutions taking and keeping hold, as we can see in Latin America.

July 9, 2010

Installing SAS OLE DB Drivers On Windows 7

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 1:55 pm

At my place of business, some of the people use SAS as an ETL tool (this leads me to a rant, but I won’t get to it here today).  There isn’t that much information on this issue, so I thought I would put up a post.  We’re using server version 9.22, and I do not have SAS installed on my computer.  Instead, I wrote up a quick program to convert a SAS data file into a SQL table.  But to do this, I needed the SAS Local Provider driver installed.  Going to the SAS download page for the OLE DB driver, I saw versions 9.22 and 9.23.  On Windows XP, I used the 9.22 driver and it worked fine.  But for Windows 7, I kept getting permissions-related errors.  I tried to do all sorts of things you shouldn’t have to do (registering and unregistering DLLs, re-assigning the owner of files in the System32 directory, etc.), and none of them worked.  In the end, I just downloaded the 9.23 driver, and it worked just fine with Windows 7.  It is able to read 9.22 data sets, and that’s all I needed to do.

Had I known this before, it would have saved me about 6 hours of headaches, but live and learn, I suppose…

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