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Common Core Math Vs Old Math In PHP

Posted in Code by Joe Colburn on the February 3rd, 2016

Love it or hate it, Facebook brings out the passion in people. People get unfriended and feelings get hurt. There’s no better way to experience it than to post an opinionated political viewpoint. Still, politics are far from the only fuel for these fires. Recently, I’ve seen heated discussions about Common Core Math, a relatively newer way to approach learning math principles. Some of the concepts seem, on the surface, to be a big, crazy departure from the concepts many of us learned as children and that’s what I’ve seen most of the noise about. In some instances, friends share an image from an angry parent whose child’s math solution was marked incorrect because the common core methods were not applied. In other cases, frustration is voiced because it appears that the new methods are actually worse than the old ones. Whatever side you’re on, be sure to open your mind to learning new things and making your own mind up.

I’m still on the fence, so as a software engineer, I decided to throw ones and zeros at the problem and see what stuck. In this case, I decided that the problem I wanted to solve would be to determine which method might be faster for subtracting numbers. The “old way”, as seen on the left in the image below, involves lining up your numbers and borrowing from the next digit to the left as you subtract each digit on the bottom from the one on the top. The new way involves essentially rounding up the number you’re subtracting until it matches the number you’re subtracting from and adding all the numbers you had to use to round up in order to get to the difference. The simplest explanation I saw for this was 9 minutes into this video, in which the teacher describes the process of counting change back to a customer at a cash register.


To solve my problem, I used PHP to try to mimic the process we go through as humans to subtract one number from another. I programmed functions for the old and new ways to solve a subtraction problem and added code to time each and loop lots of times to create a more visible comparison. The Commmon Core math in PHP code is on GitHub for anyone who would like to try it out or improve it and below are some example results.

1,000 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 1000.
Total time for the old way : 0.0071358680725098 seconds
Total time for the new way : 0.01004958152771 seconds

100,000 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 1000.
Total time for the old way : 0.71134495735168 seconds
Total time for the new way : 0.97455978393555 seconds

1,000,000 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 1000.
Total time for the old way : 6.9777636528015 seconds
Total time for the new way : 9.8461444377899 seconds

100 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 10,000,000.
Total time for the old way : 0.00092959403991699 seconds
Total time for the new way : 0.0014877319335938 seconds

100,000 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 10,000,000.
Total time for the old way : 1.0502970218658 seconds
Total time for the new way : 1.6906788349152 seconds

1,000,000 cycles – random numbers between 1 and 10,000,000.
Total time for the old way : 22.028552055359 seconds
Total time for the new way : 34.783274650574 seconds

It’s worth noting that computers and the human brain work in very different ways. This experiment is not intended to prove anything either way, nor is it intended as scientific data in the slightest. It’s merely an experiment on the process and I welcome discussion and open-minded debate in the comments.

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Amazon’s New Shepard Launches and Lands Again

Posted in Just Cool by Joe Colburn on the January 23rd, 2016

In a few months, I’ll be taking a tour of NASA’s Space Center in Houston, TX and geeking out over all things space. This is a big deal for me as I’ve always been keen on the idea of space travel and have long yearned to leave Earth’s gravity behind for the thrill of extra-terrestrial travel. This is also why I’m excited to see Amazon’s New Shepard rocket successfully re-launch today.

The Commercial Space Travel Race
In 2007, SpacePort America was announced and is now offering tours and hosting rocket and spaceship launches. The next year, Virgin Galactic announced SpaceShip Two, promising to make space flight commercially available, but that hasn’t been without its troubles. In 2014, SpaceShip Two crashed, killing one of the pilots. Meanwhile, Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) have been racing to be the first to launch and land a rocket for re-use. Hours ago, Amazon’s Blue Origin won that race by successfully re-launching New Shepard, which had launched and landed late last year. Musk’s, SpaceX hasn’t been far behind, launching and landing their Falcon 9 rocket just a month after New Shepard.

The Future of Passenger Space Travel
While Virgin Galactic has been pre-booking seats to space for quite some time, the reality is that none of these companies are flying the rest of us normal people into space yet. There’s still a lot to work out in terms of safety and stability. Once the safety issues are completely ironed out, there’s still the matter of cost. Currently, Virgin Galactic requires $250,000 to fly and I’m sure our other options will come in around the same price. As these companies figure out how to fly more people at a time and lower their costs, we should see the prices come down some, but I don’t expect to spend any less than 5 figures for a long time. Still, this re-launch of New Shepard is a big deal. Every subsequent launch reduces the overhead costs to Amazon’s Blue Origin, which we can only hope will lower the cost per seat.

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A Look Back At Hosting In 2015

Posted in Blogging,web by Joe Colburn on the January 1st, 2016

As we enter 2016 and leave 2015 behind, I sat here reflecting on the history of and what’s to come.

A Little History
When I first started this blog in 2006, I had a nine year old web development company and we provided hosting to our clients, but I wanted this to live away from my own servers while I figured out what I wanted it to be. I registered a domain name, found affordable hosting with and began an adventure. As time passed, the blog gained loyal readers and I enjoyed having an off-site dedicated server that I could add more project sites to and maintain as I wanted. In 2009, Aplus became Codero and the reliability and service only improved. From uptime to billing to real-time customer care, I watched Codero get better is my blog grew with it. In 2012, Codero’s new CEO Emil Sayegh was in Phoenix for their new data center and invited me to lunch where we discussed the past and present of Codero and hosting in general over Thai food. It was refreshing and memorable to have a CEO sit down one-on-one over lunch and ask how his company could be what a customer like me needs.

Codero in 2015
Codero was growing pretty steadily before, but 2015 looks to have been a pretty busy year for the company. In June, they announced their acquisition by a group of 32 telecom providers. This not only expands their market reach, but it opens the door to a new array of edge data centers, which should easily speed up that “time to first byte” for a lot of hosting clients. Continuing to focus on speed, the Codero Cloud went 100% SSD-powered just one month later. This is critical when you need to spin up a new instance and scale immediately. Of all the things happening with Codero in 2015, though, I really enjoyed the client stories. The one that stood out to me was the Midtown Comics success story. Although I don’t collect comics, I do collect sports cards which pose similar challenges in terms of cataloging and searching online. I love that they built their own system from the ground up and I recognize how important it is to get the technology stack right for such an endeavor.

What’s Next?
For Codero, it looks like there’s going to be continued focus on the growth of their cloud and the new edge data centers as well as how this will help clients succeed with big data and the Internet of Things, both of which I have heightened curiosity in. As the Codero Cloud evolves, I imagine I will evolve my hosting needs with it. Like Midtown Comics, I’m planning a lofty collectible catalog system build from the ground up and building it in their cloud seems like the only way to spend my 10th year with Codero.

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